Some histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) have recently been related to teratogenic effects in rodents. Skeletal defects have been directly associated with embryonic hyperacetylation of somitic nuclei after valproic acid or trichostatin A exposure in vivo. Albeit the antitumoral activity of HDACi has been classically related to chromatin condensation due to histonic lysine hyperacetylation, nonhistonic proteins have also been suggested as an HDACi target. The aim of this work was the study of the effects of three HDACi (apicidin, API; MS-275; sodium butyrate, BUT) on mouse development and their activity on embryonic histonic and nonhistonic proteins. Pregnant mice were ip treated with 10 mg/kg body weight API, 25 mg/kg MS-275, 2000 mg/kg BUT or with the vehicle alone on day 8 post coitum. Embryos were extracted 1, 2, or 3 h after treatment and Western blotting (using antibodies antihyperacetylated histone H4, antiacetylated lysine, or antitubulin) and immunohistochemistry (using the antibody antihyperacetylated histone H4) were performed. Fetuses, explanted at term of gestation, were double stained for bone and cartilage to detect skeletal abnormalities. The studied HDACi were teratogenic. The specific axial skeletal malformations were fusions or homeotic respecifications. These molecules induced hyperacetylation restricted to somitic histones. The hyperacetylation index of histone H4 as well as immunohistochemical and skeletal analyses indicated BUT as the less active molecule. These new data on effects of API, MS-275, and BUT on development suggest histonic hyperacetylation as the mechanism for the induction of the observed skeletal abnormalities.