Morphological and biochemical aspects of monofunctional phosphoramide mustard teratogenicity in rat embryos cultured in vitro



Day 10 rat embryos were exposed in vitro to a monofunctional analog of phosphoramide mustard (MPM) at concentrations of 25 to 200 μg/ml (144 to 1,156 × 10−6 M). After a 24-hour exposure, embryos exhibited a dosedependent decrease in growth parameters (crown-rump length, number of somites, and protein content) as well as incidence of malformations. Abnormal embryos were characterized by hypoplasia of the prosencephalon as well as hypoplalsia of the mandibula arches, tail, and limb buds. Histological analysis revealed abnormal levels of necrotic cells, particularly in the neuroepithelium and surrounding mesenchyme. In all respects embryos exposed to MPM could not be distinguished from embryos exposed to phosphoramide mustard. We also determined using mouse L1210 cells that at the maximum nonlethal concentration used in our embryo exposure experiments, MPM did not cause DNA cross-linking but did cause single-strand DNA breaks. Phosphoramide mustard, at concentrations teratogenic to embryos in vitro, did produce DNA cross-linking. Taken together, our results indicate that although cyclophosphamide (CP)-induced DNA cross-linking may play a role in CP teratogenesis, DNA cross-linking is not an absolute requirement.