Biological effects of D2O administration to Coturnix japonica

Stanley P. Sutton, Richard Dam, Merlyn K. Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Levels of 7.8, 18.5 and 26 mole % deuterium oxide were administered sequentially to Coturnix japonica (Japanese quail) via the drinking water. The primary effect observed was on egg frequency, which decreased from a normal level of 0.89 for 7.8 mole % D2O to a low of 0.38 during the administration of 26 mole % D2O. Adverse symptoms, such as hyperexcitability, convulsions, skin ulcerations, comatosity, weight loss, or death, which have been associated with deuterium toxicity in other animals, were not observed in these experiments. The amount of deuterium deposited in the water of the egg was 6.9, 13.98, and 19.83 mole % when 7.8, 18.5 and 26 mole % deuterium respectively was administered. For each period, the deuterium content of egg water rapidly reached a maximum concentration after which the concentration decreased slightly. This dilution effect has not been noted previously in body fluids from other animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2097-2108
Number of pages12
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 15 1974

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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