Lifetime toxicity/carcinogenicity study of FD & C Red No. 3 (erythrosine) in rats

Food Chem Toxicol. 1987 Oct;25(10):723-33. doi: 10.1016/0278-6915(87)90226-2.


FD & C Red No. 3 was fed to Charles River CD rats as a dietary admixture in two long-term toxicity/carcinogenicity studies. The studies consisted of an in utero and an F1 phase. In the former, the compound was administered to five groups of the F0 generation rats (60 of each sex/group) at levels of 0.0, 0.0, 0.1, 0.5 or 1.0% ('original study') and 0.0 or 4.0% ('high-dose study'). The concurrent control groups received the basal diet. After random selection of the F1 animals, the long-term phase was initiated using the same dietary levels and 70 rats of each sex/group, including the three control groups. Rats were exposed for a maximum of 30 months. No compound-related effects were noted in the in utero phase. Mean body weights of the female F1 rats on 4.0% FD & C Red No. 3 (3029 mg/kg/body weight/day) were significantly lower than those of controls (P less than 0.01) throughout the study. Food consumption increased in all treated groups in a dose-related manner. There were no significant effects on the haematology, serum chemistry and urinalysis and no compound-related effects on survival. In male rats receiving 4.0% FD & C Red No. 3 (2464 mg/kg/day) thyroid weights were increased, with a mean weight of 92 mg compared to 44 mg for controls, and statistically significant increases in the incidence of thyroid follicular cell hypertrophy, hyperplasia and adenomas were recorded. A numerically increased incidence of thyroid follicular adenomas in female rats given 0.5, 1.0 or 4.0% FD & C Red No. 3 was not statistically significant. The no-observed-adverse-effect levels established in these studies were 0.5% (251 mg/kg/day) for male rats and 1.0% (641 mg/kg/day) for females.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Carcinogens*
  • Erythrosine / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Fluoresceins / toxicity*
  • Male
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Thyroid Gland / anatomy & histology
  • Time Factors


  • Carcinogens
  • Fluoresceins
  • Erythrosine