The use of opioids during pregnancy has recently dramatically increased presenting major health problems, especially on the developing neonatal nervous system development. Nalufin is considered one of the most used opioid analgesics for treatment of moderate to severe pain, especially during pregnancy. The aim of the present study was firstly to assess the possible neurotoxic effects of nalufin injection during the organogenesis period of chick embryos, and second to investigate the ameliorative effects of selenium as a supplement. Fertilized chicken eggs were in ovo injected with 0.2ml of either nalufin (20 mg/kg egg) or selenium (0.1 mg/kg egg) or both. Nalufin injection resulted in cerebral cortical layer disruption, increase of Caspase-3 immunoexpression and chromatolytic nuclei, degenerated organelles, rarefied cytoplasm and hemorrhage. On the molecular levels, nalufin induced DNA fragmentation, cell cycle arrest and increased the percentage of apoptosis of the neuronal cells. Selenium combined treatment restored the three-layered structure of the cerebral cortex, decreased caspase-3 immuno-expression, improved ultrastructure and recovered cell cycle arrest, decreased apoptosis, and DNA degradation. In conclusion, nalufin treatment during pregnancy imposes great concerns and should not be used during embryonic development, on the other hands, selenium appears to be a promising neuroprotective agent against nalufin-induced neurotoxicity.

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Atallah, Badawy, El-Garawani, Abdallah, & El-Borm.
Food and Chemical Toxicology December 2021