Teratogenic Effects of Mild Heat Stress during Mouse Embryogenesis: Effect ofTrp53
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Hyperthermia can be teratogenic in fetal mice exposed during organogenesis, an effect considered to be due to heat-induced apoptosis of cells in the developing organs. We exposed pregnant mice carrying Trp53(+/+), Trp53(+/-) and Trp53(-/-) fetuses to mild whole-body hyperthermia that raised their core temperature to 40.5 degrees C for 60 min on either day 10 or 11 of gestation. On day 18 of gestation, the fetuses were removed from control and hyperthermia-treated mice and genotyped, and tail length was measured. Limb digits were examined for abnormalities. Tail length in unheated control fetuses was influenced by Trp53 status. A complete lack of functional Trp53 (Trp53(-/-)) but not partial lack of function (Trp53(+/-)) resulted in shorter tails compared to Trp53(+/+) fetuses, indicating a role for Trp53 in the regulation of tail lengthening in mouse fetuses. In all three genotypes, hyperthermia on gestation day 10 resulted in tails shorter than unheated controls, and hyperthermia on day 11 resulted in tails longer than controls. There was no effect on limb digit abnormalities. The data suggest that Trp53-dependent or independent apoptosis may not be directly involved in heat-induced teratogenesis, but that the primary teratogenic effect of heat results from the disruption of another tail length-regulating process that is independent of Trp53. However, the nature of the teratogenic outcome of that disruption depends on the gestation time. The ability of Trp53 to additionally regulate the tail lengthening process was also sensitive to the effects of heat, but that sensitivity again depended on the time of the heat stress during gestation.
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