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Methionine prevents nitrous oxide-induced teratogenicity in rat embryos grown in culture.
Fujinaga, M; Baden, J M
Anesthesiology 81:184-9 1994-08-25
Department of Anesthesia, Stanford University School of Medicine, California.

Nitrous oxide (N2O)-induced teratogenicity in rats is commonly believed to be due to decreased tetrahydrofolate, which results in decreased DNA synthesis. The role of decreased methionine has been largely ignored as have the sympathomimetic effects of N2O.

A rat whole-embryo culture system was used to determine whether N2O-induced teratogenicity can be prevented with supplemental methionine or folinic acid and whether N2O-induced situs inversus is mediated by alpha 1-adrenergic stimulation. Embryos were explanted on day 9 of gestation, and those at stage 10b (late primitive streak stage) were cultured with or without N2O and the various chemicals, methionine (25 micrograms.ml-1), folinic acid (5 micrograms.ml-1), phenylephrine (range 0.5-50 microM) and prazosin (10 microM). Embryos in the N2O groups were exposed to a concentration of 75% for the first 24 h of culture. After 50 h of culture, embryos were examined for abnormalities including situs inversus.

Treatment with N2O alone resulted in increased incidences of malformations and growth retardation. Methionine, but not folinic acid or prazosin, almost completely prevented N2O-induced malformations and growth retardation. N2O itself did not cause situs inversus but increased the incidence of phenylephrine-induced situs inversus. This additive effect was blocked by prazosin.

Our results indicate that decreased methionine rather than decreased tetrahydrofolate plays the major role in N2O-induced teratogenicity in rats. They also indicate that N2O stimulates the alpha 1-adrenergic pathway in the embryo and thereby increases the incidence of phenylephrine-induced situs inversus.

Pubmed: 8042787