Study on Potential Teratogenic Effects of Antidepressant Drugs on the Development of Chick Embryos


  • Editor AJPT


Background: The use of antidepressant drugs has been on a rise. The aim of this study is to reveal the harmful effects; these drugs can have on developing fetuses, when taken by pregnant women. Thus, Chick embryos are used as developmental model system to study the potential teratogenic effects of antidepressants.

Materials & methods: Two antidepressant drugs namely Etizolam and Fluoxetine (Prozac) at 3 doses (low, medium, high) were injected into 48 hours fertilized eggs through air-sac route. A control group of eggs was injected with normal saline and maintained. The effect of drugs on early development (after 11 days incubation), late development (after 18 days incubation) and hatchability characteristics were studied. Further biochemical analysis of treated tissues was carried out. This included Agarose gel electrophoresis, quantification of DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) by DPA (Diphenylamine) method, SDS-PAGE and protein quantification by Bradford assay.

Results: The effect of drugs on early development resulted in no growth and death of embryos however effect on late development caused malformations and reduced size compared to control embryos. Both drugs damaged DNA to different extents and protein concentration was also greatly reduced.

Conclusion: However Etizolam proved to be more toxic as it engendered more DNA damage than Fluoxetine. Further, a difference in their mechanism of teratogenicity was also inferred as response of cells to both the drugs was different. Thus, the use of these antidepressant drugs should be avoided during pregnancy especially during the first trimester and third trimester.