Abstract Exposure of V79 Chinese hamster cells to acrylamide (AA) caused a concentration-dependent increase in the incidence of spindle disturbances. A c-mitotic effect with the appearance of C-metaphases, a mitotic block and the concomitant disappearance of ana-telophase figures, was observed after 6 h of treatment with concentrations ranging from 0.01 to 1.0 mg/ml of AA. Intraperitoneal injection of male mice with the highest tolerated dose of 120 mg/kg of AA showed no mitotic arrest in bone marrow cells. However, 1 h and 3 h after treatment the frequencies of cells with highly condensed and separated chromatids was reduced indicating an effect on mitotic progression. In spermatocytes of mice AA caused a meiotic delay from 2 h to 22 h after treatment determined by a reduced ratio of second/first meiotic divisions. The meiotic delay was predominantly due to a prolongation of interkinesis. The present results show that AA causes disturbances of cell division in vitro and in vivo. They suggest that AA might induce aneuploidy in mammalian cells in vitro by interfering with proper functioning of the spindle similar to the effect of colchicine. In vivo, particularly in spermatocytes, the progression of cell division was altered by AA. It cannot be explained simply by an effect on spindle function however, this alteration may also cause errors in chromosome segregation.