Teratogenic Effect of Sodium Phenytoin on Limb Development in Chick Embryos is Time-Mediated as Evident by Stereomicroscope

  • Hamd Binte Shahab Syed Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy, CMH Institute of Medical Sciences, Multan
  • M. Yunus Khan Professor/Head, Department of Anatomy., CPSP Regional Center, Islamabad
  • Ruqqia Shafi Minhas Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy, Fazaia Medical College, Air University, Islamabad
Keywords: Chick embryos, Phenytoin, Teratogen


Background: Women suffering from seizure-related illnesses are prescribed phenytoin during pregnancy if the benefits outweigh the risks. But the teratogenic effect of this drug on limb development needs exploration. This study was designed to investigate the time-mediated teratogenic effect of sodium phenytoin on limb development of chick embryos on days 04 and 09 of development using the stereomicroscope and at the time of hatching.
Material and Methods: This randomized control trial comprised of two main groups of fertilized chicken eggs (Egyptian Fayoumi breed), control group A and experimental group B, each having 90 eggs. Each experimental egg was injected with sodium phenytoin (3.5 mg, teratogenic dose) just before incubation. Both the groups were divided into three subgroups each A1, A2, & A3/B1, B2 & B3. Stereomicroscope was used to observe the limb buds and cartilaginous elements in subgroups 1 and 2 on days 04 and 09 of development respectively. The embryos of subgroups 3 were assessed for gross limb deformities on hatching. Survival was noted in all the subgroups.
Results: The difference in limb bud size between experimental and controls was statistically insignificant. There was no variation or deformity in the bones. The experimental group 3 had gross limb defects on hatching and the difference in survival was also statistically significant in subgroups 3.
Conclusion: Prenatal administration of sodium phenytoin induces limb defects in chick embryos as evident after hatching but limb anomalies are not observed on days 04 and 09 of development as investigated by stereomicroscope. We conclude that the teratogenic effect of phenytoin is time-mediated.

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