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Maternal curcumin exposure causes fetal gross morphological anomalies and skeletal malformations in mouse

Julliane Monique A. Tagala, Alicia Magdalene Q. Biteng, Jocelyn R. Rafanan, Mayer L. Calma

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Int. J. Biosci.16(2), 382-393, February 2020

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12692/ijb/16.2.382-393


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Curcumin is a phenolic compound extracted from the rhizome of turmeric (Curcuma longa L.). Although declared as safe for human consumption, curcumin has been found to be embryotoxic in some organisms indicating its potential as a teratogen. In this study, the teratogenic effect of maternal curcumin exposure in mouse fetuses was evaluated. Three experimental groups of pregnant mice were treated with 1.05, 1.52, and 2.0 mg/g body weight/day 95% curcumin, respectively, from gestation day (GD) 6 to 15. A fourth group without curcumin exposure served as a control. At GD18, the mice were sacrificed and the total number of implanted embryos including resorbed, dead, and live fetuses were counted for litter analysis. Extracted fetuses were also analyzed for gross morphological anomalies and subsequently have undergone alizarin staining for the visualization of skeletal malformations. Results showed an increased resorption rate in the 2.0 mg/g treatment (p<0.001). There is also a reduction of fetal weight (p<0.001) and crown-rump length (p<0.001) in a dose-dependent manner. Gross morphological analysis shows cranio-facial malformations such as flattened nose bridge (p<0.05) and micrognathia (p<0.05) in 2.0 mg/g treatment. Skeletal malformations such as large anterior fontanelle (p<0.001), misaligned ossification centers in the sternum (p<0.001), and delayed ossification in the forepaws, hind paws, and caudal vertebrae (p<0.001) were also observed at 2.0 mg/g treatment. Meanwhile, the presence of supernumerary ribs is not statistically different in the four groups. The results indicate that curcumin is teratogenic in mouse fetuses due to observed gross morphological anomalies and skeletal malformations.


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Maternal curcumin exposure causes fetal gross morphological anomalies and skeletal malformations in mouse

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