Acrylamide, an animal carcinogen and germ cell mutagen present at low (ppm) levels in heated carbohydrate-containing foodstuffs, is oxidized by cytochrome P4502E1 (CYP2E1) to the epoxide glycidamide, which is believed to be responsible for the mutagenic and carcinogenic activity of acrylamide. We recently reported a comparison of the effects of acrylamide on the genetic integrity of germ cells of male wild-type and CYP2E1-null mice [B.I. Ghanayem, K.L. Witt, L. El-Hadri, U. Hoffler, G.E. Kissling, M.D. Shelby, J.B. Bishop, Comparison of germ-cell mutagenicity in male CYP2E1-null and wild-type mice treated with acrylamide: evidence supporting a glycidamide-mediated effect, Biol. Reprod. 72 (2005) 157-163]. In those experiments, dose-related increases in dominant lethal mutations were detected in uterine contents of female mice mated to acrylamide-treated wild-type males but not CYP2E1-null males, clearly implicating CYP2E1-mediated formation of glycidamide in the induction of genetic damage in male germ cells. We hypothesized that acrylamide-induced somatic cell damage is also caused by glycidamide. Therefore, to examine this hypothesis, female wild-type and CYP2E1-null mice were administered acrylamide (0, 25, 50mg/kg) by intraperitoneal injection once daily for 5 consecutive days. Twenty-four hours after the final treatment, blood and tissue samples were collected. Erythrocyte micronucleus frequencies were determined using flow cytometry and DNA damage was assessed in leukocytes, liver, and lung using the alkaline (pH>13) single cell gel electrophoresis (Comet) assay. Results were consistent with the earlier observations in male germ cells: significant dose-related increases in micronucleated erythrocytes and DNA damage in somatic cells were induced in acrylamide-treated wild-type but not in the CYP2E1-null mice. These results support the hypothesis that genetic damage in somatic and germ cells of mice-treated with acrylamide is dependent upon metabolism of the parent compound by CYP2E1. This dependency on metabolism has implications for the assessment of human risks resulting from occupational or dietary exposure to acrylamide. CYP2E1 polymorphisms and variability in CYP2E1 activity associated with, for example, diabetes, obesity, starvation, and alcohol consumption, may result in altered metabolic efficiencies leading to differential susceptibilities to acrylamide toxicities in humans.