Fischer 344 (F344) F(0) weanling rats, 30/sex/group, were exposed to acrylamide in drinking water at 0.0, 0.5, 2.0, or 5.0 mg/kg/day for 10 weeks and then mated. Exposure of F(0) females continued through gestation and lactation of F(1) litters. F(0) males, after F(0) mating, were removed from exposure and mated (one male: two untreated females) for the dominant lethal (DL) assay. Thirty F(l) weanlings/sex/group were exposed for 11 weeks to the same dose levels as their parents, and then mated to produce F(2) offspring. F(0) and F(l) parents and F(1) and F(2) weanlings were necropsied. Prebreeding exposure of F(0) and F(l) animals resulted in systemic toxicity at 2.0 to 5.0 mg/kg/day, with head tilt and/or foot splay increased at 0.5 to 5.0 mg/kg/day. F(0) and F(l) reproductive indices and gestational length were unaffected. Implantations and live pups/litter at birth were reduced at 5.0 mg/kg/day. Survival of F(l) and F(2) pups was reduced at 5.0 mg/kg/day for PND 0 through 4 only. In the DL assay, total and live implants were reduced, pre- and postimplantation loss was increased, and the frequency of DL factors (F(L)%) was increased at 5.0 mg/kg/day. At 5.0 mg/kg/day, adult F(l) male peripheral nerves exhibited axonal fragmentation and/or swelling; F(l) female spinal cord sections were unremarkable. The NOEL for prenatal DL was 2.0 mg/kg/day; the NOEL for adult systemic toxicity, including neurotoxicity, was < or = 0.5 mg/kg/day. Therefore, neurotoxicity and DL were differentially affected.