Primodos drug components can cause embryonic damage in a dose and time responsive manner

The Primodos components Norethisterone acetate and Ethinyl estradiol induce developmental abnormalities in zebrafish embryos

image of primodos zebrafish embryo

2018 Study Abstract

Primodos was a hormone pregnancy test used between 1958–1978 that has been implicated with causing a range of birth defects ever since. Though Primodos is no longer used, it’s components, Norethisterone acetate and Ethinyl estradiol, are used in other medications today including treatments for endometriosis and contraceptives. However, whether Primodos caused birth defects or not remains controversial, and has been little investigated.

Here we used the developing zebrafish embryo, a human cell-line and mouse retinal explants to investigate the actions of the components of Primodos upon embryonic and tissue development.

We show that Norethisterone acetate and Ethinyl estradiol cause embryonic damage in a dose and time responsive manner. The damage occurs rapidly after drug exposure, affecting multiple organ systems. Moreover, we found that the Norethisterone acetate and Ethinyl estradiol mixture can affect nerve outgrowth and blood vessel patterning directly and accumulates in the forming embryo for at least 24 hrs.

These data demonstrate that Norethisterone acetate and Ethinyl estradiol are potentially teratogenic, depending on dose and embryonic stage of development in the zebrafish. Further work in mammalian model species are now required to build on these findings and determine if placental embryos also are affected by synthetic sex hormones and their mechanisms of action. Image credit nature.

More About Primodos

Author: DES Daughter

Activist, blogger and social media addict committed to shedding light on a global health scandal and dedicated to raise DES awareness.

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