Acrylamide is a chemical component generated in fried foods. According to new scientific research, it also has the potential to cause DNA damage in spermatocytes cells which differentiate into sperm. In other words, men who are trying to start a family might need to lay off the french fries for a while.
Fried food picture from Shutterstock
Researchers from the University of Newcastle in Australia tested the effects of acrylamide and the related enzyme CYP2E1 in mice testes in a range of linked experiments. This included exposing the cells to acrylamide in culture. Throughout testing, a clear connection was found between acrylamide exposure during spermatogenesis and subsequent DNA cell damage:
From this, it could be inferred that acrylamide induces DNA damage in spermatocytes via adducts, rather than DNA strand breaks. These results provide further evidence of the consequences of acrylamide exposure during spermatogenesis and sheds light on the mechanisms of detoxification present in early male germ cells.
The scientists also found that treating cells with resveratrol, a naturally occurring substance in red wine, could reduce the DNA damage in mice.
"This present study has demonstrated the capacity of spermatocytes to metabolise acrylamide to glycidamide via CYP2E1," the report concludes. "This metabolism can be prevented with the use of the CYP2E1 inhibitor resveratrol.
"Importantly, the inhibition of glycidamide formation from acrylamide prevents the DNA damage as measured in terms of DNA adducts."
Meanwhile, in an unrelated study , Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) found that acrylamide levels in Australian foods are currently too high and may be of possible concern to human health.
"It is important to maintain industry and consumer education measures to ensure acrylamide levels in Australian foods remain as low as reasonably achievable," the FSANZ report concludes. (Luckily for Takeaway Truth fans, I'm already done with kids.)