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Sonnewald U.; Unsgård, G.; Petersen, S. B.
NeuroReport: January 1995
Neuropharmacology and Neurotoxicology: PDF Only

ASPARTAME (ASM), an artificial sweetener, was shown to dose dependently increase 45Ca influx into and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) leakage from murine brain cell cultures. Astrocytes were more resistant than neurones to the effects of ASM. In cerebellar granule neurones, a 20% increase in calcium was found after an incubation time of 22 h in the presence of 0.1 mM ASM; at 0.5 mM concentration, calcium influx increased 40% compared with control cultures. At a concentration of 10 mM, influx was increased 13-fold after 5 h. Morphological appearance as judged by phase contrast microscopy was first visibly affected after exposure to 1 mM ASM for 22 h. Citrate, another food additive, was included in the study to demonstrate that cerebellar granule neurones could tolerate 10 mM additions to the medium and citrate did not cause 45Ca influx or morphological changes in neurones after 22 h. LDH leakage, a sign of severe cell damage, was observed at 1 mM concentrations of ASM after 22 h. Cerebral astrocytes on the other hand were more resistant and showed morphological changes, increased calcium influx and LDH leakage first at 5 mM concentrations of ASM.

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