Comparative studies on the neuro- and reproductive toxicity of acrylamide and its epoxide metabolite glycidamide in the rat

L. G. Costa, H. Deng, C. Gregotti, L. Manzo, E. M. Faustman, E. Bergmark, C. J. Calleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The neurotoxicity of acrylamide (AA) has been the subject of extensive studies at the morphological and functional levels in both animals and man. The concern for human exposure to monomeric AA derives partly from its extensive use in molecular biology laboratories where, in the United States alone, 100,000 - 200,000 persons are potentially exposed. Initial work in this laboratory aiming at the development of techniques for using hemoglobin adducts as biomarkers for human exposure to AA, revealed the formation of glycidamide as a reactive epoxide metabolite of acrylamide in the rat (Chem. Res. Toxicol. 3, 406, 1990). In rats treated with 0 - 100 mg/kg of AA significant dose-rate effects were observed on adduct formation by both AA and glycidamide. The high rate of formation of the metabolite, especially at low doses where approximately 60% of AA was converted to glycidamide in vivo, prompted us to investigate its potential role in the induction of neurotoxic and reproductive effects attributed to AA exposure. In initial neurotoxicological experiments, the effects of the parent compound (8 - 14 days, 25 and 50 mg/kg/day) and the metabolite (8 - 14 days, 50 and 100 mg/kg/day) were compared. While at the higher dose both compounds affected the rats' performance on the rotarod, only acrylamide had a significant effect in the hindlimb splay test, which is considered a more sensitive indicator of peripheral neuropathy. On the other hand, a stronger effect was seen for glycidamide than for AA on the male reproductive system, especially on sperm cell viability. These preliminary results suggest that while the parent compound appears to be primarily responsible for the induction of peripheral neuropathy, other toxic effects associated with acrylamide exposure, such as reproductive toxicity, may be attributed to glycidamide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-224
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1992


  • Acrylamide
  • Glycidamide
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Reproductive Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Toxicology


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