Developmental toxicity of steviol, a metabolite of stevioside, in the hamster

Drug Chem Toxicol. 1998 May;21(2):207-22. doi: 10.3109/01480549809011648.


The developmental toxicity of steviol, a metabolite of stevioside, was studied in hamsters. Pregnant hamsters were intubated with steviol at dose levels of 0, 0.25, 0.5, 0.75 and 1.0 g/kg BW/day on days 6-10 of gestation. Steviol at doses of 0.75 and 1.0 g/kg BW/day were highly toxic to both dams and fetuses. Significant decrease of maternal body-weight gain during the experimental period (days 6-14) and high percentage of maternal mortality indicated the general toxicity of these two high doses. The number of live fetuses per litter and mean fetal weight also significantly decreased in the steviol-treated animals at doses of 0.75 and 1.0 g/kg BW day. The animals treated with an intermediate dose (0.50 g/kg BW/day) exhibited less signs of maternal and developmental toxicity than the two high doses (0.75 and 1.0 g/kg BW/day). One craniomeningocele was found in a fetus under the maternal toxic condition in steviol-treated at a dose of 0.75 g/kg BW/day. Neither the skeleton nor visceral development of the offspring was affected by steviol treatment except delayed ossification of the xiphoid (bifid) and long bones of the limbs and supernumerary thoracic ribs (14th ribs) tended to be increased at doses of 0.5 to 1.0 g/kg BW/day steviol. No dose-related teratogenesis was detected. From the result of the present study concerning maternal toxic condition and embryotoxicity, an oral dose of 0.25 g steviol/kg BW/day is regarded as having no observable effect. This steviol-treated dose is derived from stevioside 625 mg/kg BW/day which is approximately 80 times higher than the suggested acceptable daily intake of stevioside for humans (7.938 mg/kg BW/day).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / pathology
  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Cricetinae
  • Diterpenes / toxicity*
  • Diterpenes, Kaurane*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Fetal Viability / drug effects
  • Gestational Age
  • Glucosides / chemistry
  • Glucosides / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Sweetening Agents / chemistry
  • Sweetening Agents / metabolism
  • Terpenes / chemistry
  • Terpenes / metabolism
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Diterpenes
  • Diterpenes, Kaurane
  • Glucosides
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Terpenes
  • stevioside
  • steviol