Evaluation of the Teratogenic Effects of the Antidepressant Drug Sertraline on Fetuses of Albino Rats
Teratogenesis refers to the production of defects in the fetus. A teratogenic agent is responsible for producing such a defect. The term teratogen usually is cited in the context of causing anatomical defects in an embryo that was previously differentiating normally.
Sertraline is an often used antidepressant drug; however insufficient information is available regarding its safety during pregnancy. Therefore, this work was initiated to study the effect of prenatal exposure of mirtazapine (Sertraline) on fetuses of rats. The study was conducted on pregnant rats to observe the safety profile of sertraline in comparison to control. Pregnant albino rats (Rattus norvegicus) were administrated during organogenesis period with therapeutic dose. Fetuses were removed from the uterus and evaluated for mortality rate, growth parameters, morphological and skeletal malformation as well as histological study of liver, kidney and brain. Results showed significant reduction in placental weight of pregnant rats treated with sertraline. Treated group showed incidence of pregnancy loss and abortion. Fetal growth retardation during gestational period was recorded also some skeletal anomalies were observed, these abnormalities included weak ossification of the skull bones roof and bones forming girdles and limbs. Histopathological studies of fetuses during gestation revealed changes in liver histology such as presence of clumping of the hepatocytes with hyperchromatic nuclei and an increase in the number of megakaryocytes, kidney tissue revealed numbers of mitotic activity in the nuclei of the tubular lining epithelium and coagulative necrosis in the lining tubular epithelium of the proximal convoluted tubules at the cortex. The cerebrum showed ill developed wall of the blood vessels also the matrix of striatum in cerebrum showed vacuolization and neuronal cells in the substantia nigra showed degeneration with loss of the cytoplasmic granules. Our findings suggest the need for great caution to handle sertraline especially during pregnancy.
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