Effect of intrauterine exposure of murine fetus to cyclophosphamide on development of thymus

Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2007;29(1):17-30. doi: 10.1080/08923970701277635.


The objective of this study was to demonstrate thymic alterations produced by cyclophosphamide intervention during intrauterine life of murine fetus. Cyclophosphamide (CP) was administered to pregnant mice on day 11 of gestation in a single dose of 10 mg/kg body weight. Fetuses were dissected out on day 19 and studied for various effects on thymus. Thymus of fetuses exposed to cyclophosphamide showed thymic atrophy with retardation of thymic size and a remarkable shrinkage in lobular morphology. Histological studies showed a massive depletion of thymic cortex. Study of thymocytes revealed an increase in apoptotic cell count and percent DNA fragmentation along with a decrease in proliferation. Thymocytes obtained from fetuses of CP-treated mice showed a higher expression of caspase-activated DNase (CAD) indicating that the CP-dependent induction of apoptosis in thymocytes involved caspase pathway. The results of the present study may help in understanding the mechanism of the teratogenic effect of cyclophosphamide on thymus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / embryology
  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / metabolism
  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Cyclophosphamide / toxicity*
  • DNA Fragmentation / drug effects
  • Female
  • Fetus / abnormalities*
  • Fetus / embryology
  • Fetus / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mutagens / toxicity*
  • Pregnancy
  • Teratogens / toxicity*
  • Thymus Gland / abnormalities*
  • Thymus Gland / embryology
  • Thymus Gland / metabolism


  • Mutagens
  • Teratogens
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Caspases