Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary By using a whole-embryo culture technique (New 1978), the effects of oxygen concentration (5%, 20% and 95% oxygen) on embryonic development in the rat were investigated by light and electron microscopy. The best embryonic development occurred when the 9.5-day-old embryos were cultured for 24 h with 5% oxygen, and the 10.5-day-old embryos with 20% oxygen (optimum oxygen concentration). When the 9.5- and 10.5-day-old embryos were cultured for 24 h with too little or too much oxygen, retardation of the embryonic growth and abnormal development was observed. Using light microscopy, numerous degenerating cells, exhibiting granular deposits in the cytoplasm, were seen, but the distribution of the degenerating cells was quite different between the two groups. With electron microscopy, the most striking feature of the degenerating cells in the embryos cultured with too little oxygen, was the extreme swelling of the mitochondria without any morphological alterations of the nucleus or the other cell organelles. On the other hand, the characteristic feature of the degenerating cells in the embryos exposed to too much oxygen, was the formation of phagolysosomes in the cytoplasm. Morphological alterations of the nucleus or mitochondria were not evident. In the present study, the possible teratogenic mechanism of too much or too little oxygen in the whole-embryo culture of the rat embryo is discussed.
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