Fumonisin B, (FBi) is a mycotoxin produced by Fusarium verticillioides that is found in maize and maize-based foods. Reproductive studies in CD1 mice, rats and rabbits initially found no evidence that fumonisins are teratogenic. However, more recent findings suggest that they might increase the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) in populations consuming large amounts of fumonisin-contaminated corn. When ≥15 mg/kg body weight fumonisin B, (FB,) was given to pregnant LM/Bc mice by intraperitoneal (ip) injection, all litters were positive for NTDs. To determine if NTD induction is unique to the inbred LM/Bc mouse strain, NTD induction in LM/Bc and CD1 mice was compared: (a) in a study in which F. verticillioides culture material providing ≤150 ppm FB 1 was fed to female mice before and during gestation, and (b) in a study in which FB1 was given by ip injection to CD1 dams on gestation days 7 and the critical time for NTD development. In the feeding study, one of five LM/Bc litters from dams fed the 150 ppm FBi diet was positive for NTDs whereas no NTDs were found in the CD1 litters. In the ip injection study, 40% of the litters at the highest dose tested, 45 mg/kg body weight, were positive for NTDs and one of nine low-dose (15 mg/kg body weight) litters was also positive. Thus, FB1 induced NTDs in both LM/Bc and CD1 mice although the latter strain appears less sensitive. Comparative investigations using these strains will be useful for elucidating the mechanisms underlying fumonisin-induced NTDs in mice and determining the suitability of mouse models for studying the relationships between fumonisins and NTDs in humans.
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