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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 575287, 11 pages
Research Article

Antiteratogenic Effects of -Carotene in Cultured Mouse Embryos Exposed to Nicotine

College of Veterinary Medicine and Research Institute of Veterinary Medicine, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju 361-763, Republic of Korea

Received 28 January 2013; Accepted 9 April 2013

Academic Editor: Alfredo Vannacci

Copyright © 2013 Chunmei Lin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


After maternal intake, nicotine crosses the placental barrier and causes severe embryonic disorders and fetal death. In this study, we investigated whether β-carotene has a beneficial effect against nicotine-induced teratogenesis in mouse embryos (embryonic day 8.5) cultured for 48 h in a whole embryo culture system. Embryos exposed to nicotine (1 mM) exhibited severe morphological anomalies and apoptotic cell death, as well as increased levels of TNF-α, IL-1β, and caspase 3 mRNAs, and lipid peroxidation. The levels of cytoplasmic superoxide dismutase (SOD), mitochondrial manganese-dependent SOD, cytosolic glutathione peroxidase (GPx), phospholipid hydroperoxide GPx, hypoxia inducible factor 1α, and  mRNAs decreased, and SOD activity was reduced compared to the control group. However, when β-carotene ( or was present in cultures of embryos exposed to nicotine, these parameters improved significantly. These findings indicate that β-carotene effectively protects against nicotine-induced teratogenesis in mouse embryos through its antioxidative, antiapoptotic, and anti-inflammatory activities.