Abnormal Development - Fungal Infection

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The variety of fungal infections that can occur during pregnancy is as variable as the potential developmental effects. In particular several fungi produce known mycotoxin chemicals.

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Environmental Links: Introduction | low folic acid | iodine deficiency | Nutrition | Drugs | Australian Drug Categories | USA Drug Categories | thalidomide | herbal drugs | Illegal Drugs | smoking | Fetal Alcohol Syndrome | TORCH | viral infection | bacterial infection | fungal infection | zoonotic infection | toxoplasmosis | Malaria | maternal diabetes | maternal hypertension | maternal hyperthermia | Maternal Inflammation | Maternal Obesity | hypoxia | biological toxins | chemicals | heavy metals | air pollution | radiation | Prenatal Diagnosis | Neonatal Diagnosis | International Classification of Diseases | Fetal Origins Hypothesis

Some Recent Findings

  • Ochratoxin A: developmental and reproductive toxicity-an overview[1] "Ochratoxin A (OTA) is nephrotoxic, hepatotoxic, reprotoxic, embryotoxic, teratogenic, neurotoxic, immunotoxic, and carcinogenic for laboratory and farm animals. Male and female reproductive health has deteriorated in many countries during the last few decades. A number of toxins in environment are suspected to affect reproductive system in male and female. OTA is one of them. OTA has been found to be teratogenic in several animal models including rat, mouse, hamster, quail, and chick, with reduced birth weight and craniofacial abnormalities being the most common signs. The presence of OTA also results in congenital defects in the fetus. Neither the potential of OTA to cause malformations in human nor its teratogenic mode of action is known. Exposure to OTA leads to increased embryo lethality manifested as resorptions or dead fetuses. The mechanism of OTA transfer across human placenta (e.g., which transporters are involved in the transfer mechanism) is not fully understood. Some of the toxic effects of OTA are potentiated by other mycotoxins or other contaminants. Therefore, OTA exposure of pregnant women should be minimized. OTA has been shown to be an endocrine disruptor and a reproductive toxicant, with abilities of altering sperm quality. Other studies have shown that OTA is a testicular toxin in animals. Thus, OTA is a biologically plausible cause of testicular cancer in man."
More recent papers  
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Search term: Fungal Teratogen

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Older papers  


  1. ingestion of contaminated food
  2. colonization of the intestine
  3. intestinal translocation
  4. replication in the liver and spleen
  5. either the resolution of infection or spread to other organs resulting in a systemic infection


  1. Malir F, Ostry V, Pfohl-Leszkowicz A & Novotna E. (2013). Ochratoxin A: developmental and reproductive toxicity-an overview. Birth Defects Res. B Dev. Reprod. Toxicol. , 98, 493-502. PMID: 24395216 DOI.





  • Approved Lists of Bacterial Names Edited by VBD Skerman, Vicki McGowan, and PHA Sneath. Washington (DC): ASM Press; 1989. ISBN-13: 978-1-55581-014-6 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK814 PMID 20806452

Search PubMed: embryonic fungal infection | prenatal fungal infection | maternal fungal infection |

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, June 23) Embryology Abnormal Development - Fungal Infection. Retrieved from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Abnormal_Development_-_Fungal_Infection

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© Dr Mark Hill 2024, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G