Folic acid is known to reduce the incidence of neural tube defects, in animal experiments however, it has not been effective in reducing the congenital anomalies caused by antiepileptics and many other chemicals. Pesticides of organophosphate group such as chlorpyrifos are widely used in agriculture and household, and are shown to be teratogenic in animal studies. This study was designed to explore the effect of folic acid on chlorpyrifos induced teratogenicity. Pregnant mice were divided into groups of 8 animals each, and were exposed to oral dose of chlorpyrifos and/or folic acid on gestation days (GD) 6 and 7 or GD 1 to 15. Fetuses were recovered on 15th day of gestation. On morphological and morphometeric examination it was found that chlorpyrifos is teratogenic to mice fetuses in an oral dose of 100 ug/gbw when given on GD 6 and 7. It was embryo toxic and caused growth retardation and morphological anomalies of skull, body curvature, skin, limbs, eyes and ears. Folic acid in a dose of 2 ug/gbw, when given at the time of chlorpyrifos exposure (GD 6 and 7), lead to significant improvement in crown-rump (CR) length and weight of fetuses, reduction in the number of resorptions and frequency of anomalies. However the CR length and weight of fetuses given folic acid and chlorpyrifos were significantly less than the control. There was no additional benefit of giving folic acid in the same dose from GD1 to 15. Thus this study was aimed at confirming the teratogenic potential of cholorpyrifos in mice and assessing the role of folic acid in the prevention of teratogenesis induced by chlorpyrifos.
Key words: Folic acid, organophosphates, teratogenesis, chlorpyrifos.
GD, Gestational day; gbw, gram body weight; CR, crown-rump.
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