Sodium thiosulfate exposure disrupts in vitro and in vivo heart development

Front Biosci (Elite Ed). 2011 Jan 1;3:469-75. doi: 10.2741/e262.


It is well-known that the majority of malformations found in the human population is based on complex gene-environment interactions. As an industrial chemical sodium thiosulfate (STS) is used heavily in many industries. Nevertheless, there is little known about the effects of STS on embryo development. In the present study, we have investigated the effects of STS on cardiac development in rat cardiomyocyte H9C2 cell line and chick embryos. As determined by MTT assays, the proliferation of H9C2 cells was inhibited by STS in a dose-dependent manner. Fertilized eggs injected via the yolk sac with STS at Hamburger-Hamilton (HH) stages 6, 9 and 12 showed significantly increased cardiotoxicity at HH stage 18, including cardiomyocyte apoptosis and animal mortality. Western blot analysis showed that STS significantly affected the expression of the apoptosis-related genes bcl-2, bax, and caspase-3 in a dose-dependent manner in the H9C2 cell line and in chick embryos. Dysregulation of apoptosis was correlated with embryonic heart malformations. Thus, STS may be a potent cardiac teratogen during embryo development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Line
  • Chick Embryo
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Embryonic Development / drug effects*
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Heart / drug effects*
  • Heart / embryology*
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • Thiazoles
  • Thiosulfates / toxicity*


  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • Thiazoles
  • Thiosulfates
  • thiazolyl blue
  • sodium thiosulfate