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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Cytogenotoxicities of sublimed urethane gas to the mouse embryo.

Urethane (ethyl carbamate) which has long been used for commonly used drugs and has proven to be useful in the formation of products in every-day use, is volatile, and small amounts sublime spontaneously. Pregnant ICR mice were maintained in the vinyl chamber (45 liter) which was ventilated 4 times per hour. To inhale urethane gas, air was passed first through a glass bottle containing 500 g of crystalline urethane and then into the vinyl chamber. Concentration of the sublimed urethane gas in the chamber was 1.28 +/- 0.08 mg/l, and sublimed urethane gas produced significantly high incidence of chromosomal aberrations in the cells of whole embryo, when mice inhaled it for 48 h from day 9 to day 11 of pregnancy. High and significant incidence of chromosomal aberrations (36.0%) was detected in the embryo 3 h after urethane gas inhalation, but decreased to 5.3% at 24 h after exposure and showed no significant differences from controls after 48 h, while the incidence in bone marrow cells from the adult (pregnant) mice was lower (21.5%) at 3 h after exposure but a significant increase remained until 72 h after exposure. A majority of chromosomal aberrations was chromatid types. As a consequence of cellular damages by urethane gas inhalation during pregnancy, significantly high incidence of fetal deaths and congenital malformations (cleft palate, polydactyly, tail anomaly etc.) was induced in the offspring. Thus, we must be aware of the risk of volatile chemicals, because it is difficult to perceive and avoid hazardous exposure via respiration.[1]


  1. Cytogenotoxicities of sublimed urethane gas to the mouse embryo. Nomura, T., Tanaka, S., Kurokawa, N., Shibata, K., Nakajima, H., Kurishita, A., Hongyo, T., Ishii, Y. Mutat. Res. (1996) [Pubmed]
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