Interaction of dimethylsulfoxide and arachidonic acid with the teratogenic effects of caffeine in mice

Nat Toxins. 1994;2(1):29-35. doi: 10.1002/nt.2620020107.


Dose-response of the teratogenic effect of caffeine (CA) and the potential role of facial hematomas in the pathogenesis of caffeine-induced cleft palate were investigated using CD1 mice treated with 150, 200, or 250 mg CA/kg i.p. on gestational day (GD) 12. Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO; 20%) and arachidonic acid (AA, 200 mg/kg) were administered along with CA (200 mg/kg) to study their interaction with CA-induced teratogenesis and elevation in maternal glucocorticoids (MGC, measured by RIA) on GD 13 and 14. Dose-dependent increase in the incidence of cleft palate (CP) was noted in CA-exposed mice. High maternal deaths, an increased number of resorptions, gross facial hematomas (GFH), and club foot (CF) were produced only by the highest (250 mg/kg) dose of CA. Palates from all offspring with GFH were clefted at this dose level. None of the control or CA-treated nonclefted offspring had GFH or microscopic hematomas (MH). At 200 mg/kg of CA, DMSO in combination with CA actually increased CA-induced CP from 30% to 100% and also produced 100% GFH as compared to 0% by CA alone at this dose. Greater than 50% of clefted offspring without GFH, given either dose (200 or 250 mg/kg) of CA, had MH. Very high levels of MGC were present in CA-treated mice on GD 13 and 14. Although simultaneous administration of DMSO reduced the magnitude of CA-induced MGC elevations on GD 14, the MGC levels remained high for greater than 24 hours following CA exposure. Increase in maternal mortality and fetal resorptions, a decrease in the number of live pups and their body weights, and no change in the incidence of CP were seen when CA-treated mice were simultaneously exposed to AA. These results suggest a correlation between caffeine-induced FH and CP; a role for increased hematomagenic effects of DMSO in its potentiation of the cleft-palatogenic effect of caffeine; and absence of a role for AA-mediated effects of MGC in the causation of CA-induced CP and other malformations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Arachidonic Acid / toxicity*
  • Caffeine / toxicity*
  • Cleft Palate / chemically induced
  • Cleft Palate / pathology
  • Corticosterone / blood
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / toxicity*
  • Drug Synergism
  • Face / pathology
  • Female
  • Hematoma / chemically induced
  • Hematoma / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Pregnancy


  • Arachidonic Acid
  • Caffeine
  • Corticosterone
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide