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Toxicol Sci. 2002 Feb;65(2):177-83.

Acrylamide-induced cellular transformation.

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Division of Toxicology, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Indiana University School of Medicine, 635 Barnhill Dr., MS 1021, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202, USA.


Acrylamide is a monomer of polyacrylamide, whose products are used in biochemistry, the manufacture of paper, water treatment, and as a soil stabilizer. While polymeric acrylamide is nontoxic, the monomer can cause several toxic effects and has the potential for human occupational exposure. While acrylamide is not mutagenic in prokaryotic mutagenesis assays, chronic acrylamide treatment in rodents has been shown to produce tumors in both rats and mice. The mechanism for the induction of tumors by acrylamide is not known. In the present study, we examined the possibility that acrylamide might induce cellular transformation, using Syrian hamster embryo (SHE) cell morphological transformation as well as potential mechanisms for the cellular transformation. Results showed that treatment with 0.5 mM and higher concentrations of acrylamide continuously for 7 days induced morphological transformation. Cotreatment with acrylamide and N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), a sulfhydryl group donor, resulted in the reduction of acrylamide-induced morphological transformation in SHE cells. Cotreatment with 1-aminobenzotriazole (ABT), a nonspecific P450 inhibitor, and acrylamide produced no change in morphological transformation when compared to acrylamide treatment only. Cotreatment with acrylamide and DL-buthionone-[S,R]-sulfoximine (BSO), a selective inhibitor of gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase, increased the percent of morphologically transformed colonies compared to acrylamide treatment alone. Acrylamide reduced GSH levels in SHE cells, and cotreatment with acrylamide and NAC prevented the acrylamide-induced reduction of GSH. BSO treatment with acrylamide enhanced the depletion of GSH. These results suggest that acrylamide itself, but not oxidative P450 metabolites of acrylamide appear to be involved in acrylamide-induced cellular transformation and that cellular thiol status (possibly GSH) is involved in acrylamide-induced morphological transformation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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