Sucralose causes non-selective CD4 and CD8 lymphotoxicity via probable regulation of the MAPK8/APTX/EID1 genes: An in vitro/in silico study

Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2020 Oct;47(10):1751-1757. doi: 10.1111/1440-1681.13362. Epub 2020 Jul 16.


One of the most widely used sweeteners in the world is sucralose. With sweetening power 600 times greater than sucrose, its use grows among those who seek to cut calories. Research shows that when heated, sucralose generates toxic products that attack the organism and interact with DNA. Our objective was to test this sweetener under unheated conditions and at average concentrations of consumption, evaluating parameters of cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, and immunotoxicity. For this purpose, we made use of lymphocyte cultures and the analysis of their CD3+ , CD4+ , and CD8+ subpopulations. In a complementary way, the mechanism of action is proposed here by computational methods. Our results showed that sucralose reduces non-selectively the total lymphocytes due to falls in the levels of the CD4+ , CD8+ , and CD4+ CD8+ subpopulations. We observed an increase in the level of DNA damage and a gradual incidence of structural changes in the lymphocyte chromosomal sets. It was possible to propose that sucralose modulates the gene expression, interfering especially with the MAPK8, APTX, and EID1 genes. This article presents the results of an evidence-based approach to the safety of human health in the use of sucralose. Finally, this study points out that sucralose has cytotoxic, genotoxic, and mutagenic effects in the concentrations and conditions tested in human lymphocyte cell culture.

Keywords: CD4; CD8; gene regulation; in vitro/ in silico; lymphocytes; sucralose.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Energy Intake / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Sucrose / adverse effects*
  • Sweetening Agents / adverse effects*


  • Sweetening Agents
  • Sucrose