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April 1963

Technique of Comparing Acute Toxicity in Infant vs. Adult Rats: A Comparative Study of Three Antibiotics

Author Affiliations

Leon Z. Saunders, D.V.M., Head, Pathology and Toxicology Section, Smith Kline & French Laboratories, 1500 Spring Garden St., Philadelphia 1, Pa.; From the Pathology and Toxicology Section, Research and Development Division, Smith Kline & French Laboratories.

Am J Dis Child. 1963;105(4):323-328. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1963.02080040325001

The study of acute toxicity of drugs in newborn animals is a relatively new concept. According to Nyhan 1 certain drugs which are well tolerated by adults may cause, in infants, abnormal responses characterized by severe, sometimes fatal, toxic reactions. For example, chloramphenicol toxicity in newborn and premature infants is well recognized, and the association of neonatal deaths with excessively high chloramphenicol blood levels has raised the question whether the "infant toxicity" of the drug could not have been predicted by prior animal experiments. Several investigators have studied the acute toxicity of various antibiotics on newborn vs. adult rats (or mice).2-5

2-Biphenylylpenicillin is a synthetic compound obtained by the acylation of penicillanic acid. It shows activity against strains of penicillin-resistant staphylococci and is orally absorbed.6 Since this synthetic penicillin has potential use in the treatment of newborn infants, we decided to compare the newborn vs. adult toxicity in