Statistical analysis of the effect of cadmium and zinc on hamster teratogenesis

James K. Hartsfield, Mikyung Lee, Jorge G. Morel, Don R. Hilbelink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Maternal smoking is correlated with lower average birth weights and an increase in malformations in some studies. Increased maternal cadmium levels and reduction of zinc levels in certain tissues from fetuses of women who smoke suggest a biological association during pregnancy. Zinc has a protective effect on hamster teratogenesis caused by cadmium. To determine whether this protective effect is additive or synergistic (interactive), pregnant golden Syrian hamsters were injected (iv) on Day 8 of gestation with a test solution based on maternal body weight (0.5 ml per 100 g). Five doses were given: 2 mg/kg zinc chloride, 2 mg/kg cadmium chloride, 3 mg/kg cadmium chloride, 2 mg/kg zinc chloride plus 2 mg/kg cadmium chloride, and 2 mg/kg zinc chloride plus 3 mg/kg cadmium chloride. Fifty dams were randomly placed into one of the groups, for a total of 10 pregnant dams in each group. Twenty other dams were randomly placed into untreated or saline control groups. Fetuses were recovered on Day 15 and weighed, crown-rump length was measured, and fetuses were examined for viability and external malformations. Resorptions were noted. Statistical analyses included one-and two-way nested ANOVA, and logistic regression adjusted for litter effect. Zinc's protective effect on acute cadmium embryonic/fetal toxicity and teratogenicity was confirmed. The protective effect was of the same magnitude relative to the dose-dependent effect of the cadmium exposure, indicating that the effect was statistically additive and not synergistic. This suggests that the effect depends on competition of the two elements at some common binding site(s).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-173
Number of pages15
JournalBiochemical Medicine and Metabolic Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1992

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported in part by funding from the University of South Florida Department of Pediatrics (J.K.H.), a Research and Creative Scholarship Grant from the University of South Florida (J.K.H.), the March of Dimes Summer Science Research Program for Medical Students (M.L.), and a Physician Scientist Award (DE 00243) from the National Institute of Dental Research (J.K.H.). Mikyung Lee presented part of this research during the 1990 Edward H. Hatton International Association for Dental Research Competition, placing second in the predoctoral category (43). The authors thank Ms. Margie Bryant for her photographic contributions.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry


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