Rat whole embryo culture: an in vitro model for testing nitrous oxide teratogenicity.Anesthesiology. 1988 Sep; 69(3):401-4.A
The teratogenic effects of nitrous oxide (N2O) on postimplantation rat embryos were studied using a whole embryo culture system to separate the direct effects of N2O from those that are maternally mediated. A total of 100, 10-day-old rat embryos were cultured in either a control atmosphere (75% N2, 20% O2, and 5% CO2), or a N2O atmosphere (75% N2O, 20% O2, and 5% CO2). After 22 h of culture embryos were examined microscopically, and protein and DNA contents were determined. DNA content was significantly lower in the embryos exposed to N2O compared with the controls. Additionally, three malformed embryos and four embryos with left-sided tails were observed in the N2O group, whereas no abnormalities were observed in the control group. There were no differences in crown-rump length, somite numbers, limb bud index, and protein content between the two groups of embryos. The positive findings in this study indicate that whole embryo culture is useful for studying the mechanisms of N2O teratogenicity.