Fetal growth in rats treated with lapachol

Contraception. 2002 Oct;66(4):289-93. doi: 10.1016/s0010-7824(02)00356-6.


Lapachol is a naphthoquinone well known for its therapeutic potential. Previous studies have shown that lapachol does not interfere with embryonic development during the pre-implantation period. However, when administered during the organogenic period at the same dose level, it induces a high fetal death incidence. To evaluate the effect of lapachol during fetogenesis, 20 pregnant Wistar rats were randomly divided into two groups: vehicle (10 mL of a 50% aqueous ethanol solution/kg body weight) and treated (100 mg of lapachol/kg body weight). Lapachol was administered from the 17th to 20th day of pregnancy. The following variables were analyzed: maternal body weight from 16th to 21st day of pregnancy, food intake from 17th to 21st day of pregnancy, clinical signs of physical discomfort, ovarian weights, implantations, resorptions and mortality indices, fetal and placenta weights, external malformations, and fetal organ weights. Results indicated that lapachol was not toxic to mothers, although it was fetotoxic leading to fetal growth retardation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced
  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Eating
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / chemically induced
  • Fetal Weight
  • Gestational Age
  • Naphthoquinones / administration & dosage
  • Naphthoquinones / toxicity*
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Ovary / anatomy & histology
  • Placenta / anatomy & histology
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Naphthoquinones
  • lapachol