Prolonged use of the food dye tartrazine (FD&C yellow no5) and its effects on the gastric mucosa of Wistar rats
Tartrazine is one of the most widely used artificial foods, drugs and cosmetic dyes. It is a nitrous derivative and is known to cause allergic reactions such as asthma and urticaria, as well as having been the focus of studies on mutagenesis and carcinogenesis due to its transformation into aromatic amine sulfanilic acid after being metabolized by the gastrointestinal microflora. 45 male Wistar rats were assigned to a control group (A) or a treatment one (B). The treatment group received 7.5 mg x kg(-1) x day(-1) of tartrazine daily in drinking water offered ad libitum for ten months from weaning to the age of twelve months. There was a significant increase in the number of lymphocytes and eosinophils of the gastric antrum mucosa. No carcinogenetic changes in any gastric area were observed during the study. As tartrazine belongs to the azo class, it is still a possible food carcinogen. Other studies with different doses and schedules, observing their effects associated to other carcinogens should be carried out if their safe use is to be recommended.
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