Investigation of developmental toxicity and teratogenicity of macrolide antibiotics in cultured rat embryos.Anat Histol Embryol. 2008 Oct; 37(5):369-75.AH
Macrolides are considered to be one of the safest anti-infective groups in clinical use, with severe adverse reactions being rare. However, there are limited data about their embryotoxicity and teratogenicity. We aimed to investigate and compare the effects of these agents on embryonic growth and development. Rat embryos were cultured in vitro for 48 h in rat serum. Whole rat serum was used as a culture medium for the control group while different concentrations of spiramycin and azithromycin (1.25-6.25 microg/ml), and clarithromycin (2.5-30 microg/ml) were added to rat serum for the experimental groups. Dose-dependent effects of macrolides on embryonic developmental parameters were compared using morphological methods. Embryos were evaluated for the presence of any malformations. After morphological examination of the embryos, total DNA was extracted from the cells using standard procedures to determine fragmentation of nuclear DNA of embryonic cells. When compared with the control embryos, the macrolides significantly decreased all growth and developmental parameters dose dependently. While clarithromycin was found to cause more developmental toxicity than spiramycin and azithromycin, azitromycin was determined to have more teratogenicity potential. Compared with controls, there was no difference regarding the fragmentation of nuclear DNA of all the agents used. According to these results, when the toxic and teratogenic potential of the used agents compared, because of the lower toxic and teratogenic effects observed with spiramycin, this agent may be preferred for parturients.