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Cadmium (Cd) is a powerful inducer of oxidative stress. It also causes ventral body wall defects in chick embryos treated at Hamburger–Hamilton stages 16–17. By measuring malondialdehyde levels (TBARS method) and cotreating with antioxidants (tempol, ascorbate, and N-acetylcysteine), we sought to determine if oxidative stress were directly related to teratogenesis. We also investigated the expression of mRNAs for antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) -1 and -2, catalase (CAT), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx). RT–PCR showed reductions in SOD-1, SOD-2, and CAT 1 hour after treatment with Cd. MDA levels increased 4 hours after Cd, and remained elevated 24 hours after treatment. Of the antioxidants, only N-acetylcysteine reduced MDA levels to control values. Nonetheless, no antioxidant could reduce embryo lethality or malformation rates. Furthermore, MDA levels 24 hours after treatment were identical in malformed and normal embryos exposed to Cd. Hence, we conclude that oxidative stress may not have a direct role in Cd teratogenesis.