Placental toxicity of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) in mice

Wolfgang Schmahl, Beat Usler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


1-Methyl-4-phenyl-,1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) is a well-known model substance for inducing in humans and monkeys as a severe extrapyramidal syndrome similar to Parkinson's disease. The neurotoxic action of MPTP can be exerted not only in adult animals but also during fetal development by diaplacental passage. Here we show that, during the gestation period of mice, the placenta is another important target organ of MPTP cytotoxicity. Pregnant NMRI mice on gestation day 15 received a single intraperitoneal dose of 20, 40, or 60 mg/kg MPTP. Developmental parameters of the fetuses and the placentas were determined on gestation day 18. Placental weight was consistently reduced in all experimental groups. Histology showed conspicuous alterations of the labyrinth layer; at 20 mg/kg MPTP there was already a significant reduction of the trabecular diameters and from 40 mg/kg onwards, severe necrosis of the syncytial trophoblast cells. In addition, there were nectoric alterations of the cells of the visceral yolk sac. The toxic effects are confined to the placenta at the doses used in the present experiments, leading at just 60 mg/kg to a marked placental insufficiency syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-74
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - 25 Mar 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Labyrinth layer
  • MPTP
  • NMRI mice
  • Placental lesions


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