Aim and Background: Aspartame is a non-nutritive sweetener, used in ‘diet’ and ‘low calorie’ products. Since it contains no calories, aspartame is considered a boon to health-conscious individuals. Upon ingestion, aspartame is immediately absorbed from the intestinal lumen and metabolized to phenylalanine (50%), aspartate (40%) and methanol (10%). The safety issues have been raised due to the possibility of toxicity from methanol and/or its systemic metabolite formaldehyde. Methods: This study is focus to understand whether the oral administration of aspartame (40 mg/kg.bw/day) for 90-days have any effect on immune response (innate and acquired), membrane bound ATPase of red blood cell (rbc) and antioxidant status of red and white blood cell (rbc, neutrophil and lymphocyte). Results: The present studied showed a significant alteration in immune responses, decrease in membrane bound ATPase enzymes in red blood cell. The significant increase of lipid peroxidation and nitric oxide level along with subsequent decrease in enzymatic and non- enzymatic antioxidant enzymes in red and white blood cell indicates generation of free radicals by aspartame metabolites. Conclusion: Aspartame may possibly act as chemical stressor, altered both innate and acquired immunity and generate oxidative stress in blood cells.
Key words: Aspartame, RBC, Neutrophil, Immunity, Antioxidant