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Boll Chim Farm. 1997 Nov;136(10):615-27.

Physiological effects of some synthetic food colouring additives on rats.

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Zoology Dept., Fac. of Sci., Cairo University, Egypt.


Three different synthetic chocolate colourant agents (A, B and C) were administered to healthy adult male albino rats for 30 and 60 day periods to evaluate their effects on body weight, blood picture, liver and kidney functions, blood glucose, serum and liver lipids, liver nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) and growth hormone. In addition, histopathological examinations of liver, kidney and stomach sections were studied. These parameters were also investigated 30 days after colourant stoppage (post effect). Ingestion of colourant C (brown HT and indigocarmine) significantly decreased rat body weight, serum cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol fraction, while, T4 hormone, liver RNA content, liver enzymes (S. GOT, S. GPT and alkaline phosphatase), total protein and globulin fractions were significantly elevated. Significant increases were observed in serum total lipids, cholesterol, triglycerides, total protein, globulin and serum transaminases in rats whose diets were supplemented with chocolate colours A and B (sunset yellow, tartrazine, carmoisine and brilliant blue in varying concentrations). Haematological investigations demonstrated selective neutropenia and lymphocytosis with no significant alterations of total white blood cell counts in all rat groups, while haemoglobin concentrations and red blood cell counts were significantly decreased in the rats who were administered food additives A and B. Eosinophilia was noted in rats fed on colourant A only. No changes were recorded for blood glucose, growth hormone and kidney function tests. Histopathological studies showed brown pigment deposition in the portal tracts and Van Küpffer cells of the liver as well as in the interstitial tissue and renal tubular cells of the kidney mainly induced by colourant A. Congested blood vessels and areas of haemorrhage in both liver and renal sections were revealed in those rats who were given colourants B and C. There were no-untoward-effects recorded in the stomach tissue.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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