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Effects of exposure to nicotine and to sidestream smoke on pregnancy outcome in rats.

Witschi H; Lundgaard SM; Rajini P; Hendrickx AG; Last JA
Toxicol Lett 1994 May; 71(3):279-286
The effects of nicotine (54115) and sidestream tobacco smoke (STS) on pregnancy outcome were studied in rats. Nicotine delivering transdermal patches were attached to the shaved backs of pregnant Sprague-Dawley-rats from day two to seven or day two to 19 of gestation, which corresponded to the first trimester or the complete gestational period, respectively. The patches were cut to deliver nicotine at the rate of 1.75 or 3.5 milligrams per day (mg/day). Controls were given a placebo patch. Other pregnant rats were exposed to STS from research cigarettes from days three to 11 of gestation. The STS concentration was equivalent to 1mg/m3 total suspended particulate material. The rats that received the nicotine patches were killed on gestational day 19 and those exposed to STS were killed on gestational day 20. The uteri were removed and examined. The number of live and dead fetuses were counted. The fetuses were weighed. Maternal blood samples were collected and analyzed for plasma nicotine and cotinine (486566). A 100% pregnancy failure rate, no fetuses being found, occurred in dams exposed to the 3.5mg/day nicotine patches during the entire gestational period. A 50% pregnancy failure rate was seen in rats exposed to the 3.5mg/day patches during the first trimester. In rats exposed to the 1.75mg/day patches, a 50% pregnancy failure rate occurred in those exposed during the entire gestational period. Exposure for the first trimester only had no effect on pregnancy outcome. Fetal weights were not affected by the nicotine patches. No nicotine or cotinine was detected in the plasma of rats exposed to the nicotine patches during the first trimester. The number of live fetuses per litter was significantly decreased by exposure to STS. The authors conclude that continuous exposure to nicotine during pregnancy may adversely affect pregnancy outcome in rats.
Tobacco-smoke; In-vivo-studies; Laboratory-animals; Inhalation-studies; Environmental-exposure; Prenatal-exposure; Laboratory-techniques; Organo-nitrogen-compounds; Cigarette-smoking; Biochemical-indicators; Reproductive-effects
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
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Issue of Publication
Source Name
Toxicology Letters
Performing Organization
University of California - Davis
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division