Acrylamide in Health and Disease

Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2011 Jan 1;3:41-51. doi: 10.2741/s130.


Acrylamide has been classified as a probable carcinogen and can be ingested, inhaled (e.g. tobacco smoke), or absorbed. Fried, starchy foods are the most prominent sources of exposure. The reaction between asparagine and fructose typically produces the most acrylamide in foods from plant sources. Preparation methods shown to affect acrylamide production include temperature and cooking oil. Hemoglobin adducts present a reliable short term measurement of acrylamide exposure; a variety of methods, predominately LC/MS-MS, have been used for acrylamide detection. Health effects of acrylamide include neurotoxicity and genotoxicity. It is believed that the electrophilic nature of acrylamide will allow it to adduct to thiol groups on nerve axons and proteins that regulate neurotransmitter exocytosis. Presynaptic nitric oxide (NO) may also play a role here. Reproductively, males demonstrate a decrease in sperm count, motility and morphology. Acrylamide produces clastogenic effects while glycidamide (GA), its metabolite, produces mutagenic effects. A number of protective measures against the effects of acrylamide are possible including probiotics, increased use of compounds known to decrease acrylamide production and bioengineering of precursor foods such as potatoes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acrylamide / metabolism*
  • Acrylamide / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Asparagine / metabolism
  • Asparagine / toxicity
  • Axons / drug effects
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Epoxy Compounds / metabolism
  • Epoxy Compounds / toxicity
  • Exocytosis / drug effects
  • Food Analysis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mutagens / metabolism
  • Mutagens / toxicity*
  • Neurotoxins / metabolism
  • Neurotoxins / toxicity*
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Spermatozoa / drug effects*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / analysis


  • Epoxy Compounds
  • Mutagens
  • Neurotoxins
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Acrylamide
  • Nitric Oxide
  • glycidamide
  • Asparagine