Lysosomal Enzyme Inhibition by Trypan Blue: A Theory of Teratogenesis

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Science  08 Sep 1967:
Vol. 157, Issue 3793, pp. 1180-1182
DOI: 10.1126/science.157.3793.1180


A mechanism of mammalian teratogenesis involving inhibition of embryotrophic nutrition is suggested and exemplified by the action of trypan blue on pregnant rats. There is evidence for the localization of trypan blue in heterolysosomes of the epithelium of the visceral yolk sac, and our experiments indicate that the dye is an inhibitor of a selection of hydrolytic enzymes present in lysosomal fractions from homogenates of rat visceral yolk sac. It seems likely that trypan blue inhibits the intracellular digestion of embryotroph by the visceral yolk-sac epithelium; the conceptus may therefore be deprived of essential nutrients at critical stages of development.