Structural and ultrastructural evidence of neurotoxic effects of fried potato chips on rat postnatal development

Hassan I. El-Sayyad, Hekmat L. El-Gammal, Lotfy A. Habak, Heba M. Abdel-Galil, Augusta Fernando, Rajiv L. Gaur, Allal Ouhtit*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Acrylamide (ACR), a proved rodent carcinogen and neurotoxic agent, is present in significant quantities in commonly consumed foods such as fried potato chips (FPC) and French fries, raising a health concern worldwide. We investigated and compared the neurotoxic effects of ACR and FPC on postnatal development. Methods: Female rats were treated with ACR (30 mg/kg of body weight), fed a diet containing approximately 30% of FPC during pregnancy, or fed a standard diet (control) and their offspring were examined. Results: Female rats treated with ACR or fed a diet containing FPC during pregnancy gave birth to litters with delayed growth and decreased body and brain weights. Light microscopic studies of the cerebellar cortex of treated animals revealed drastic decreases in Purkinje cells and internal granular layers. Different patterns of cell death were detected in Purkinje cells and neurons in the brains of pups born to treated mothers. Ultrastructural analysis of Purkinje cells revealed changes in the endoplasmic reticulum, loss of the normal arrangement of polyribosomes, swollen mitochondria with abnormally differentiated cristae, and an abnormal Golgi apparatus. The gastrocnemius muscle in the ACR and FPC groups showed extensive degeneration of myofibrils as evidenced by poorly differentiated A, H, and Z bands. Conclusion: The present study reveals for the first time that rat fetal exposure to ACR, as a pure compound or from a maternal diet of FPC, causes cerebellar cortical defects and myodegeneration of the gastrocnemius muscle during the postnatal development of pups. These results warrant a systematic study of the health effects of the consumption of FPC and French fries in the general population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1066-1075
Number of pages10
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • Acrylamide
  • Cerebellar cortex
  • Fried potato chips
  • Muscle development
  • Postnatal development
  • Pregnantrats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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