The developmental toxicity of boric acid in rabbits.
Fundam Appl Toxicol. 1996 Dec;34(2):176-87. PMID: 8954748
Chemistry and Life Sciences, Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, 27709-2194, USA.
Boric acid (BA), an ingredient of many pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and pesticide products, was previously shown to induce reproductive and developmental toxicity in laboratory rodents. In this study, BA (0, 62.5, 125, or 250 mg/kg/day, po) was administered on Gestational Days (GD) 6-19 to New Zealand White rabbits (18-23 pregnant/group). Maternal body weight, food consumption, and clinical condition were monitored at regular intervals throughout gestation. At termination (GD 30), the numbers of uterine implantations, resorptions, dead fetuses, and live fetuses were determined. Fetuses were weighed, and live fetuses examined for external, visceral, and skeletal defects. Maternal food intake decreased during treatment at 250 mg/kg/day and increased at>/=125 mg/kg/day after treatment. Maternal body weight (GD 9-30), weight gain during treatment, gravid uterine weight, and number of ovarian corpora lutea decreased at 250 mg/kg/day. In contrast, maternal corrected gestational weight gain increased at>/=125 mg/kg/day. Maternal liver weight was not affected. Relative (but not absolute) maternal kidney weight increased at 250 mg/kg/day, and microscopic evaluation revealed no treatment-related renal pathology. At 250 mg/kg/day, prenatal mortality was increased (90% resorptions/litter vs 6% for controls), the proportion of pregnant females with no live fetuses was increased (73% vs 0%), and live litter size was reduced (2.3 fetuses/litter vs 8.8). As a result, there were only 14 live fetuses (6 live litters) available for evaluation in the high-dose group, compared to 153-175 live fetuses (18-23 live litters) in the other groups. The percentage malformed fetuses/litter was increased at 250 mg/kg/day, primarily due to cardiovascular defects in 72% of high-dose fetuses vs 3% of controls. The most prevalent cardiovascular malformation (interventricular septal defect) was observed in 57% of high-dose fetuses compared to 0.6% among controls. At 250 mg/kg/day, average fetal body weight/litter was 92% of the average control weight (not statistically significant). In summary, no definitive maternal or developmental toxicity was observed at 62.5 or 125 mg/kg/day BA. Mild maternal effects and severe developmental toxicity were observed at 250 mg/kg/day.