Adverse pregnancy outcome in the monkey (Macaca fascicularis) after chronic caffeine exposure

S. G. Gilbert, D. C. Rice, K. R. Reuhl, B. Stavric

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Caffeine and the related methylxanthine theophylline are consumed regularly by pregnant women. In a study originally designed to assess the neurotoxic potential of ceffeine in the infant, 40 female monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) were divided into three groups and administered caffeine in their drinking water at concentrations equivalent to 0, 10 to 15 or 25 to 35 mg/kg/day of caffeine 7 days a week. After a period of adaptation to caffeine these monkeys were mated with untreated males. Reproductive failure in the form of stillbirths and miscarriages was observed in the treated groups. Subsequently, 12 control monkeys and 1 low-dose monkey were added to the study and most of the original monkeys rebred. The second round of pregnancies confirmed that the treated monkeys had an increased rate of stillbirths and miscarriages. The precise cause of death of the stillborn infants could not be determined. Maternal weight gain and infant birth weights decreased in a dose-related manner. These results indicate that in utero exposure to methylxanthines (caffeine and/or its major metabolite theophylline) adversely affects pregnancy outcome in the monkey.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1048-1053
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology

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