Frequent consumption of diet drinks was associated with oocyte dysmorphism, decreased embryo quality, and an adverse effect on pregnancy rate. We investigated the harmful effects of aspartame and potential mechanisms through which it increases infertility risk through clinical observations and in vivo and in vitro studies. Methods: We established a cohort of 840 pregnant women and retrospectively determined their time to conceive. We assessed the estrus cycle, the anti-Mullerian hormone level, ovarian oxidative stress, and ovarian mitochondrial function in an animal study. We also evaluated mitochondria function, mitochondrial biogenesis, and progesterone release with in vitro studies. Aspartame consumption was associated with increased infertility risk in the younger women (Odds ratio: 1.79, 95% confidence interval: 1.00, 3.22). The results of the in vivo study revealed that aspartame disrupted the estrus cycle and reduced the anti-Mullerian hormone level. Aspartame treatment also suppressed antioxidative activities and resulted in higher oxidative stress in the ovaries and granulosa cells. This phenomenon is caused by an aspartame-induced decline in mitochondrial function (maximal respiration, spare respiratory capacity, and ATP production capacity) and triggered mitochondrial biogenesis (assessed by examining the energy depletion signaling-related factors sirtuin-1, phosphorylated adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator-1α, and nuclear respiratory factor 1 expression levels). Aspartame may alter fertility by reserving fewer follicles in the ovary and disrupting steroidogenesis in granulosa cells. Hence, women preparing for pregnancy are suggested to reduce aspartame consumption and avoid oxidative stressors of the ovaries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12740
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • aspartame
  • infertility
  • mitochondria
  • oocyte maturation
  • steroidogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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