Exposure to sorbitol during lactation causes metabolic alterations and genotoxic effects in rat offspring

Toxicol Lett. 2016 Oct 17;260:36-45. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2016.08.018. Epub 2016 Aug 21.


Sorbitol is a polyol used by the food industry as a sweetener. Women are consuming diet and light products containing sorbitol during pregnancy and in the postnatal period to prevent themselves from excessive weight gain and maintain a slim body. Although there is no evidence for the genotoxicity of sorbitol in the perinatal period, this study focused on evaluating the effects of the maternal intake of sorbitol on the biochemical and toxicological parameters of lactating Wistar rat offspring after 14days of mother-to-offspring exposure. A dose-dependent reduction of offspring length was observed. An increase in sorbitol levels determined in the milk was also observed. However, we detected an inverse relationship between the exposition dose in milk fructose and triacylglycerols concentrations. There was an increase in the plasmatic levels of ALT, AST and LDLc and a decrease in proteins, cholesterol and glucose levels in the offspring. Sorbitol exposure caused hepatocyte genotoxicity, including micronuclei induction. Maternal sorbitol intake induced myelotoxicity and myelosuppression in their offspring. The Comet assay of the blood cells detected a dose-dependent genotoxic response within the sorbitol-exposed offspring. According to our results, sorbitol is able to induce important metabolic alterations and genotoxic responses in the exposed offspring.

Keywords: Food safety; Genotoxicity; Hepatotoxicity; Lactation; Myelotoxicity; Sorbitol.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Female
  • Fructose / analysis
  • Growth Disorders / blood
  • Growth Disorders / etiology*
  • Growth Disorders / pathology
  • Growth Disorders / physiopathology
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Hepatic Insufficiency / blood
  • Hepatic Insufficiency / etiology*
  • Hepatic Insufficiency / pathology
  • Hepatic Insufficiency / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Lactation*
  • Liver / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Milk / chemistry
  • Mutagenicity Tests
  • Mutagens / adverse effects
  • Myeloproliferative Disorders / blood
  • Myeloproliferative Disorders / etiology*
  • Myeloproliferative Disorders / pathology
  • Myeloproliferative Disorders / physiopathology
  • Non-Nutritive Sweeteners / administration & dosage
  • Non-Nutritive Sweeteners / adverse effects*
  • Non-Nutritive Sweeteners / analysis
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / blood
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / etiology
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / pathology
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / physiopathology
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sorbitol / administration & dosage
  • Sorbitol / adverse effects*
  • Sorbitol / analysis
  • Triglycerides / analysis


  • Biomarkers
  • Mutagens
  • Non-Nutritive Sweeteners
  • Triglycerides
  • Fructose
  • Sorbitol