3 and 7 per cent of newborn infants have a developmental malformation.
While in some cases the cause of the malformation can be traced
to a particular environmental agent or a particular mutated gene,
in the vast majority of cases no particular cause can be pinpointed.
It is thought that in many cases the cause is a multifactorial
one. In other words, several elements have brought about the malformation,
and in the end a malformation occurred because of a combination
of genetic and environmental factors. While only a few environmental
factors have been positively identified as ones that cause birth
defects, many chemicals and drugs are suspected of doing so. In
almost all cases, it is not known how the particular environmental
factor has damaged the embryo's
cells to lead to a malformation. Neither is it known why some embryos
are susceptible and others are not. Using mice as a model system,
my research attempts to identify the damage that is done at the level
of the embryonic cells and to determine whether there are means
by which the embryo naturally protects itself from harm. At the same
time as having a practical application of possibly reducing the risk
of birth defects in susceptible individuals, a more theoretical aspect
of biology can also be explored--that is the ways in which an embryo
can respond to a changing environment at the level of its cells.
Kapron, C.M. and
D.G. Trasler. 1997. Genetic determinants of abnormal development
in mouse and rat embryos in vitro. Int. J. Dev. Biol. 41: 37-344.
Sylvester, L., C.M. Kapron and C. Smith. 2000. In utero ethanol
exposure decreases rapid eye movement sleep in female Sprague-Dawley
rat offspring. Neuroscience Letters. 289: 13-16.
Warren, S., Patel, S. and C.M. Kapron. 2000. The effect of vitamin
E exposure on cadmium toxicity in mouse embryo cells in vitro. Toxicology
Doyle, D. and C.M. Kapron. 2002. Manganese-induced toxicity in micromass
cultures of mouse embryo limb bud cells. Toxicology In Vitro 16:101-6.
Kapron C. 2002 Identification of the mouse Loop-tail gene: a model
for human craniorachischisis? Bioessays. 24:580-3.
Haberstroh, K., and C.M. Kapron. 2003. Induction of the JNK
signaling pathway by cadmium in mouse midbrain cells in micromass culture.
Lu, J., and C.M. Kapron. 2003. Differential induction of stress signaling
pathways by cadmium in primary cultures of mouse embryo limb bud and
midbrain cells. In preparation.
MacKinnon, Y., and C. M. Kapron. 2003. Glutathione protects cultured
murine embryonic cells from cadmium-induced inhibition of proliferation
and differentiation and prevents the activation of c-Jun N-terminal
kinase. In preparation.
Abstracts of Meeting
Haberstroh, K.M.W., and C.M. Kapron. 1998. Cellular mechanisms
of cadmium embryonic toxicity. Teratology 57: 228.
Haberstroh, K.M.W., and C.M. Kapron. 1999. Cadmium-induced stress signaling
pathways in mouse midbrain cells in micromass culture. Teratology 59:
Lu, J., and C.M. Kapron. 2000. Toxicant-induced stress signaling pathways
in primary cultures of mouse embryo limbbud and midbrain cells. Presented
at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Federation of Biological Societies,
MacKinnon, Y.M.W., and C.M. Kapron. 2001. Indirect evidence for the
involvement of reactive oxygen species in the toxicity of cadmium in
mouse embryo limb bud cell culture. Teratology 63: 294.
The Society of Toxicology of Canada
The Canadian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular and Cellular
Current Issues in Biology II (Molecular and Cell Biology section)
Biology 207H Cell Biology
Biology 408H Developmental Biology
Biology 416H Immunology
Biology 445 Internship in Health Sciences (course coordinator)
Student Projects Related to Health
(M.Sc. expected 2005) Inhibition of the Immune Response by Pesticide
Exposure in Frogs
Cheng, L. (M.Sc. expected 2004) The Role of c-jun in Cadmium Induced
MacKinnon, Y. (M.Sc. 2002) The Role of Oxidative Stress in Cadmium
Toxicity and the Cadmium-Induced Activation of the Stress-Activated
Protein Kinase (SAPK) in Primary Cultures of Mouse Embryo Limb Bud
Liu, J., (M.Sc. 2001) Cadmium-Induced Activation of Mitogen-Activated
Protein Kinase Pathways and Cytotoxicity Effects in Primary Cultures
of Mouse Embryonic Cells.
Haberstroh, K. (M.Sc. 1999) Cadmium-Induced Cell Toxicity and Stress-Activated
Protein Kinase Induction in the Midbrain Cells of Two Strains of Mice.
Projects and Grants
mechanisms of cadmium-induced embryotoxicity. (NSERC Operating)
2000-2001 Oxidative stress and cell signaling pathways in teratogenesis
(Trent NSERC Committee)
2001 Centrifuge (with S. Rafferty (lead) and J.Yee) (NSERC equipment)
2002-2004 Stress signal transduction pathways and embryotoxicity (NSERC
is a good source
of information about birth defects, with information about courses
related to health, and links to health-related information from other
to Toxicology training programs, and Toxicology related sites
is a source of
information about the safety of drugs and chemicals during pregnancy
provides a variety
of information, including tutorials about medical conditions and
procedures that are of interest to the general public
to Medline citations, as well as links to genome and protein databases,
textbooks and more.