Potentiation of the teratogenic effects induced by coadministration of retinoic acid or phytanic acid/phytol with synthetic retinoid receptor ligands

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Previous studies in our laboratory identified retinoid-induced defects that are mediated by RAR-RXR heterodimerization using interaction of synthetic ligands selective for the retinoid receptors RAR and RXR in mice (Elmazar et al. 1997, Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 146:21-28; Elmazar et al. 2001, Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 170:2-9; Nau and Elmazar 1999, Handbook of experimental pharmacology, vol 139, Retinoids, Springer-Verlag, pp 465-487). The present study was designed to investigate whether these RAR-RXR heterodimer-mediated defects can be also induced by interactions of natural and synthetic ligands for retinoid receptors. A non-teratogenic dose of the natural RXR agonist phytanic acid (100 mg/kg orally) or its precursor phytol (500 mg/kg orally) was coadministered with a synthetic RARα-agonist (Am580; 5 mg/kg orally) to NMRI mice on day 8.25 of gestation (GD8.25). Furthermore, a non-teratogenic dose of the synthetic RXR agonist LGD1069 (20 mg/kg orally) was also coadministered with the natural RAR agonist, all-trans-retinoic acid (atRA, 20 mg/kg orally) or its precursor retinol (ROH, 50 mg/kg orally) to NMRI mice on GD8.25. The teratogenic outcome was scored in day-18 fetuses. The incidence of Am580-induced resorptions, spina bifida aperta, micrognathia, anotia, kidney hypoplasia, dilated bladder, undescended testis, atresia ani, short and absent tail, fused ribs and fetal weight retardation were potentiated by coadministration of phytanic acid or its precursor phytol. Am580-induced exencephaly and cleft palate, which were not potentiated by coadministration with the synthetic RXR agonists, were also not potentiated by coadministration with either phytanic acid or its precursor phytol. LGD1069 potentiated atRA- and ROH-induced resorption, exencephaly, spina bifida, aperta, ear anotia and microtia, macroglossia, kidney hypoplasia, undescended testis, atresia ani, tail defects and fetal weight retardation, but not cleft palate. These results suggest that synergistic teratogenesis can be induced by coadministration of a natural RXR ligand (phytanic acid) with a synthetic RAR agonist (Am580). Thus, certain potentially useful therapeutic agents or nutritional factors such as phytanic acid should be tested for teratogenic risk by coadministration with other retinoid receptor agonists. © Springer-Verlag 2004.

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