Teratogenicity and Fetal-Transfer Assessment of the Retinoid X Receptor Agonist Bexarotene

Yuta Takamura, Izumi Kato, Manami Fujita-Takahashi, Midori Azuma-Nishii, Masaki Watanabe, Rui Nozaki, Masaru Akehi, Takanori Sasaki, Hiroyuki Hirano, Hiroki Kakuta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bexarotene, a retinoid X receptor (RXR) agonist, is used to treat cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, and drug repositioning research has also been reported, despite warnings of teratogenicity. However, fetal transfer of bexarotene and its effect on rat fetal bone formation have not been examined. In this study, we conducted a detailed teratogenicity and fetal transferability assessment of bexarotene in rats. Repeated administration of bexarotene during pregnancy caused marked fetal atrophy and bone dysplasia. Although fetal transfer was not detectable by dynamic imaging of [11C]bexarotene by means of positron emission tomography, transfer to the fetus was confirmed by using a gamma counter. Similar levels were found in mother and fetus. In addition, we found that bexarotene was accumulated in the placenta. These findings will be useful for the toxicity assessment of bexarotene as well as for drug discovery research targeting RXR agonists, which are expected to have therapeutic effects in various diseases.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Pharmacology and Translational Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • bexarotene
  • bone dysplasia
  • fetus transferability
  • positron emission tomography
  • RXR
  • teratogenicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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