Abstract Title:

Three-generation reproductive study of cocoa powder in rats.

Abstract Source:

Food Chem Toxicol. 1990 Jul;28(7):483-90. PMID: 2210520

Abstract Author(s):

K A Hostetler, R B Morrissey, S M Tarka, J L Apgar, C A Shively

Article Affiliation:

Hershey Foods Corporation Technical Center, Hershey, PA 17033-0805.


Male and female Sprague-Dawley rats were continuously exposed to dietary cocoa powder at levels of 0.0, 1.5, 3.5 or 5.0% for three generations. During the initial 12-wk growth periods for the F0-, F1b- and F2b-generation rats, mean methylxanthine exposures (mg/kg/day) for males/females were 30/36, 72/86 and 104/126 for the 1.5, 3.5 and 5.0% cocoa powder groups, respectively. No consistent dose-related effects on any of the monitored reproductive indices (mating, fertility, conception, gestation, viability or lactation) were noted over three generations. Minor reductions in mean body weight relative to controls at wk 12 were observed in male rats exposed to 3.5 or 5.0% cocoa powder and female rats exposed to 5.0% cocoa powder in the F1b and F2b generations. Renal tubular mineralization in the F0-generation male rats in the 5.0% cocoa powder group was the only statistically elevated histomorphological lesion observed. Plasma cholesterol concentrations in F1b-generation rats were elevated, but cocoa powder did not affect this parameter consistently across multiple generations. Thus, continuous cocoa powder consumption by rats at levels as high as 5.0% of the diet was without effect on reproductive capacity under the conditions of a standard three-generation evaluation.

Study Type : Animal Study
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