A recent scientific study published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology describes the effects of prenatal melamine exposure on synaptic plasticity of the brain and spatial cognition in rats. High doses of melamine (400 mg/kg body weight/day) were administered by gavage during the complete gestational period. The effects of melamine on the male offspring were investigated by biochemical assays, electrophysiological and behavioral tests. Prenatal feeding of melamine induced dysfunction in the central nervous system, especially in the hippocampus, learning deficits and reference memory deficits. Furthermore, the litter size of melamine treated rats was smaller and the sex ratio changed in favor of female pups. Recent studies investigating the toxicity of melamine mainly focused on nephrotoxicity as endpoint.
In Europe, melamine is authorized for use as additive and monomer in food contact plastics with a specific migration limit of 2.5 mg/kg food.
An, L. et al. (2014). “Prenatal melamine exposure induces impairments of spatial cognition and hippocampal synaptic plasticity in male adolescent rats.” Reproductive Toxicology (published online August 8, 2014).