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Teratology is the study of abnormalities of physiological development. It is often thought of as the study of human congenital abnormalities, but it is much broader than that, taking in other non-birth developmental stages, including puberty; and other non-human life forms, including plants. The related term developmental toxicity includes all manifestations of abnormal development by toxic substances. These may include growth retardation, delayed mental development or other congenital disorders without any structural malformations.
The Six Principles of Teratology guide the study and understanding of teratogenic agents and their effects on developing organisms:
1. Susceptibility to teratogenesis depends on the genotype of the conceptus and the manner in which this interacts with adverse environmental factors.
2. Susceptibility to teratogenesis varies with the developmental stage at the time of exposure to an adverse influence. There are critical periods of susceptibility to agents and organ systems affected by these agents.
3. Teratogenic agents act in specific ways on developing cells and tissues to initiate sequences of abnormal developmental events.
4. The access of adverse influences to developing tissues depends on the nature of the influence. Several factors affect the ability of a teratogen to contact a developing conceptus, such as the nature of the agent itself, route and degree of maternal exposure, rate of placental transfer and systemic absorption, and composition of the maternal and embryonic/fetal genotypes.
5. There are four manifestations of deviant development (Death, Malformation, Growth Retardation and Functional Defect).
6. Manifestations of deviant development increase in frequency and degree as dosage increases from the No Observable Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL) to a dose producing 100% Lethality (LD100).
Studies designed to test the teratogenic potential of environmental agents use animal model systems (e.g., rat, mouse, rabbit, dog, and monkey). Early teratologists exposed pregnant animals to environmental agents and observed the fetuses for gross visceral and skeletal abnormalities. While this is still part of the teratological evaluation procedures today, the field of Teratology is moving to a more molecular level, seeking the mechanism(s) of action by which these agents act. Genetically modified mice are commonly used for this purpose. In addition, pregnancy registries are large, prospective studies that monitor exposures women receive during their pregnancies and record the outcome of their births. These studies provide information about possible risks of medications or other exposures in human pregnancies.Understanding how a teratogen causes its effect is not only important in preventing congenital abnormalities but also has the potential for developing new therapeutic drugs safe for use with pregnant women.
Conferences, Symposiums and workshops:
1. International Symposium & Workshop: Fish and amphibian embryos as alternative models in toxicology and teratology
2. 54th Annual Meeting of the Teratology Society
3. The 30th Conference of the European Teratology Society and Annual Meeting of Society
4. 3rd International Birth Defects Conference
5. The 2nd International Conference of theOrganization of Teratology Information Specialists and the European Network of Teratology Information Services
6. NIEHS and NTP join colleagues at Teratology Society meeting
7. Neurobehavioral Teratology Society: Zebrafish Symposium
• Organization Of Teratology Information
• Mother to Baby
• Parthenon Management Group
• Syngene International Ltd
• Lab diet
Societies & Associations:
• The Teratology Society
• Middle Atlantic Reproduction and Teratology Association
• European Teratology Society
• Neurobehavioral Teratology Society
• International Federation of Teratology Societies
• The Japanese Teratology Society
This page will be updated regularly.
This page was last updated on 09th Oct, 2014
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