Investigation of direct toxic and teratogenic effects of anticoagulants on rat embryonic development using in vitro culture method and genotoxicity assay.Anat Histol Embryol. 2006 Apr; 35(2):84-92.AH
Heparin and low molecular weight heparins (LMWHs) are used to reduce the incidence of venous thromboembolism in pregnancy. Although, these agents have been shown to be safe when used during pregnancy, the studies about direct toxic and teratogenic effects of these drugs on embryonic development are limited. In this study, the effects of heparin and LMWHs on rat embryonic development were investigated by using in vitro embryo culture and micronucleus (MN) assay methods. Rat embryos were cultured in vitro in the presence of different concentrations of heparin (5-40 IU/ml), dalteparin (2.5-20 IU/ml), enoxaparin (25-100 microg/ml) and nadroparin (1-4 IU/ml). Effects of anticoagulants on embryonic developmental parameters were compared and embryos were evaluated for the presence of any malformations. After culturing the embryos, classic MN assay was performed. Anticoagulants significantly decreased all growth and developmental parameters dose-dependently. Dalteparin and enoxaparin were found to cause more developmental toxicity than heparin and nadroparin. Along with haematoma in general, heparin and nadroparin caused maxillary deformity, situs inversus and oedema most frequently, while neural tube defects were observed with dalteparin and enoxaparin. All agents also significantly induced MN formation in rat embryonic blood cells. These results indicate the possible genotoxic effects of anticoagulant agents on the developing rat embryo when applied directly.