Exposure to suboptimal ambient temperature during specific gestational periods and adverse outcomes in mice

Fatemeh Mayvaneh, Alireza Entezari, Fatemeh Sadeghifar, Mohammad Baaghideh, Yuming Guo, Azadeh Atabati, Qi Zhao, Yunquan Zhang

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Exposure to suboptimal ambient temperature during pregnancy has been reported as a potential teratogen of fetal development. However, limited animal evidence is available regarding the impact of extreme temperatures on maternal pregnancy and the subsequent adverse pregnancy outcomes. Our objective in this study is to investigate the relationship between temperature and maternal stress during pregnancy in mice. This study used the Naval Medical Research Institute (NMRI) mice during the second and third pregnant weeks with the gestational day (GD) (GD 6.5–14.5 and GD 14.5–17.5). Mice were exposed to suboptimal ambient temperature (1 °C, 5 °C, 10 °C, 15 °C, 40 °C, 42 °C, 44 °C, 46 °C, and 48 °C for the experimental group and 23 °C for the control group) 1 h per day, 7 days a weekin each trimester. Measurements of placental development (placental weight [PW] and placental diameter [PD]) and fetal growth (fetal weight [FW] and crown-to-rump length [CRL]) between experimental and control groups were compared using analysis of variance (ANOVA). Data on the occurrence of preterm birth (PTB) and abnormalities were also collected. The results showed that exposure to both cold and heat stress in the second and third weeks of pregnancy caused significant decreases in measurements of placental development (PW and PD) and fetal growth (FW and CRL). For all temperature exposures, 15 °C was identified as the optimal temperature in the development of the embryo. Most PTB occurrences were observed in high-temperature stress groups, with the highest PTB number seen in the exposure group at 48 °C, whereas PTB occurred only at 1 °C among cold stress groups. In the selected exposure experiments, an approximate U-shaped relation was observed between temperature and number of abnormality occurrence. The highest percentage of these anomalies occurred at temperatures of 1 °C and 48 °C, while no abnormalities were observed at 15 °C and in the control group. Our findings strengthened the evidence that exposure to suboptimal ambient temperatures may trigger adverse pregnancy outcomes and worsen embryo and fetal development in mice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45487–45498
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number36
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Adverse birth outcomes
  • Fetal development
  • Maternal mortality
  • Mice
  • Suboptimal temperature

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