Abnormal Development - Teratogens
|Embryology - 1 Dec 2023 Expand to Translate|
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|Educational Use Only - Embryology is an educational resource for learning concepts in embryological development, no clinical information is provided and content should not be used for any other purpose.|
How and why do things go wrong in development? Embryological development is a robust biological system able to cope with many stresses without long-term consequences. When development does go wrong there are generally 3 major types groups: Genetic (inherited), Environmental (maternal) derived and Unknown (not determined or known) abnormalities. Also often not considered, is that pregnancy itself can also expose abnormalities in the mother (congenital heart disease, diabetes, reproductive disorders) that until the pregnancy had gone undetected.
- Infections collectively grouped under the acronym TORCH for Toxoplasmosis, Other organisms (parvovirus, HIV, Epstein-Barr, herpes 6 and 8, varicella, syphilis, enterovirus) , Rubella, Cytomegalovirus and Hepatitis. See also the related topics on maternal hyperthermia and bacterial infections.
- Maternal diet the best characterised is the role of low folic acid and Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) see also abnormal neural development and Neural Tube Defects (NTDs). More recently the focus has been on dietary iodine levels and the role they also play on neural development.
- Maternal drugs effects either prescription drugs (therapeutic chemicals/agents, thalidomide limb development), non-prescription drugs (smoking), and illegal drugs (Cannabis/Marijuana, Methamphetamine/Amphetamine, Cocaine, Heroin, Lysergic Acid Diethylamide). Some therapeutic compounds have teratogenic effects because they are also naturally occurring developmental signals, for example retinoic acid.
- Environment (smoking, chemicals, heavy metals, radiation) and maternal endocrine function (maternal diabetes, thyroid development) and maternal stress.
- Teratogen synergism, different environmental effects can act individually or in combination on the same developing system. For example, neural development can be impacted upon by alcohol (fetal alcohol syndrome), viral infection (rubella) and/or inadequate dietry folate intake (neural tube defects). These effects may also not be seen as a direct effect on a system or systems but result in a reduced birth weight and the potential postnatal developmental effects. Consider also this in relation to the increasing support to the fetal origins hypothesis.
Use the page links below to explore specific teratogens.
|Bacterial Links: bacterial infection | syphilis | gonorrhea | tuberculosis | listeria | salmonella | TORCH | Environmental | Category:Bacteria|
|Abnormality Links: abnormal development | abnormal genetic | abnormal environmental | Unknown | teratogens | ectopic pregnancy | cardiovascular abnormalities | coelom abnormalities | endocrine abnormalities | gastrointestinal abnormalities | genital abnormalities | head abnormalities | integumentary abnormalities | musculoskeletal abnormalities | limb abnormalities | neural abnormalities | neural crest abnormalities | placenta abnormalities | renal abnormalities | respiratory abnormalities | hearing abnormalities | vision abnormalities | twinning | Developmental Origins of Health and Disease | ICD-11|
Some Recent Findings
|More recent papers|
This table allows an automated computer search of the external PubMed database using the listed "Search term" text link.
Search term: teratogen
Critical Periods of Development
When studying this topic remember the concept of "critical periods of development" that will affect the overall impact of the above listed factors, as outlined in the table below. This can be extended to the potential differences between prenatal and postnatal effects, for example with infections and outcomes.
|Critical Periods of Human Development|
|Conceptus||Embryonic development (weeks)||Fetal period (weeks)|
|Loss||Major abnormalities||Functional and Minor abnormalities|
- Hawkins SJ, Crompton LA, Sood A, Saunders M, Boyle NT, Buckley A, Minogue AM, McComish SF, Jiménez-Moreno N, Cordero-Llana O, Stathakos P, Gilmore CE, Kelly S, Lane JD, Case CP & Caldwell MA. (2018). Nanoparticle-induced neuronal toxicity across placental barriers is mediated by autophagy and dependent on astrocytes. Nat Nanotechnol , , . PMID: 29610530 DOI.
- Zomerdijk IM, Ruiter R, Houweling LM, Herings RM, Straus SM & Stricker BH. (2015). Dispensing of potentially teratogenic drugs before conception and during pregnancy: a population-based study. BJOG , 122, 1119-29. PMID: 25316196 DOI.
- Mayshar Y, Yanuka O & Benvenisty N. (2011). Teratogen screening using transcriptome profiling of differentiating human embryonic stem cells. J. Cell. Mol. Med. , 15, 1393-401. PMID: 20561110 DOI.
- Lim JH, Kim SH, Shin IS, Park NH, Moon C, Kang SS, Kim SH, Park SC & Kim JC. (2011). Maternal exposure to multi-wall carbon nanotubes does not induce embryo-fetal developmental toxicity in rats. Birth Defects Res. B Dev. Reprod. Toxicol. , 92, 69-76. PMID: 21254368 DOI.
- Birth Defects Research Part A: Clinical and Molecular Teratology
- Birth Defects Research Part B: Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology
- Part C: Embryo Today: Reviews
- Glossary: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | Numbers | Symbols | Term Link
Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2023, December 1) Embryology Abnormal Development - Teratogens. Retrieved from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Abnormal_Development_-_Teratogens
- © Dr Mark Hill 2023, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G