Effect of supplementation with folinic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 on valproic acid-induced teratogenesis in mice

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The effect of administration of folinic acid, vitamin B6 + vitamin B12, and their combination on valproic acid (VPA)-induced teratogenesis was studied in NMRI mice. VPA (500 mg/kg, sc) was injected on Day 8 of gestation and the vitamins (two dose levels) were injected ip 1 hr before, immediately before, and 1 hr after VPA administration. Folinic acid significantly reduced VPA-induced resorptions (21-24%), and palate, rib, and sternebral malformations. Exencephaly and spina bifida occulta were also reduced (14 and 40%, respectively), but the difference was not statistically significant. On the other hand, vitamin B6 + vitamin B12 significantly reduced VPA-induced exencephaly (23%), spina bifida occulta (80%), palate and rib malformations, kidney abnormalities, and fetal weight retardation. A combination of the three vitamins was effective in reducing VPA-in duced exencephaly (23-30%), spina bifida occulta (60%), and palate and rib malformations. The protection against VPA-induced malformations was not complete and was not always dose related, and the reduction in exencephaly rate was only significant in the absence of a reduction in resorption rate. Full-length cleft palate, sternebral malformations, and retarded sternebral and caudal ossification were, however, increased by the high dose of combined vitamin administration. The present study supports the view that VPA-induced teratogenesis may be mediated via an interaction with folate metabolism. Although folinic acid and vitamin B6 + vitamin B12 can effectively reduce VPA malformations, the protection was not complete, which may suggest the involvement of other factors. Furthermore, the dose levels should be carefully chosen since high doses of the combined vitamins can actually increase the incidence of certain defects. © 1992 by the Society of Toxicology.

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