Reproductive toxicity of boric acid in Swiss (CD-1) mice: assessment using the continuous breeding protocol

Fundam Appl Toxicol. 1991 Aug;17(2):225-39. doi: 10.1016/0272-0590(91)90215-p.


The potential reproductive toxicity of boric acid (BORA) in CD-1 mice (Swiss) was evaluated using the Reproductive Assessment by Continuous Breeding (RACB) Protocol. BORA was administered in the feed for 27 weeks to male and female Swiss (CD-1) mice at concentrations of 0, 1000, 4500, or 9000 ppm. Estimated doses, based on feed consumption and body weight, averaged 152, 636, and 1262 mg/kg body wt during Week 1 for males for 1000, 4500, and 9000 ppm, respectively. During 14 weeks of cohabitation, fertility of F0 mice was partially reduced at 4500 ppm and totally eliminated at 9000 ppm. No litters, dead or alive, were produced by 9000 ppm cohabited pairs. Among the litters born at 4500 ppm, live litter size and body weight were significantly reduced. A crossover mating trial of control and 4500 ppm groups confirmed the male as the affected sex, with fertility rates and the mating index significantly lower in the 4500 male x 0 ppm female group. At necropsy, after 27 weeks of BORA exposure, dose-related changes were present in F0 males for reduced body and reproductive organ weights, increased incidence of abnormal sperm, decreased sperm concentration and motility, and seminiferous tubule degeneration. In the 4500 ppm females, dietary BORA for 27 weeks caused significantly decreased weights of kidney/adrenals and livers; kidney/adrenal weight was also reduced in 4500 ppm males. The last litters of the control and 1000 ppm females, born in the 14-week breeding phase, were reared to 74 days of age and then mated in nonsibling pairs within treatment groups. These F1 mice had normal fertility, but the adjusted mean body weight of F2 pups was decreased. These data establish the reproductive toxicity of BORA in CD-1 mice and demonstrate that the male is the most sensitive sex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atrophy / chemically induced
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Boric Acids / toxicity*
  • Drinking / drug effects
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Epididymis / drug effects
  • Female
  • Fertility / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Reproduction / drug effects*
  • Seminiferous Tubules / drug effects
  • Spermatogenesis / drug effects
  • Testis / drug effects
  • Testis / pathology


  • Boric Acids
  • boric acid