This study evaluated the cytotoxicity of experimental adhesive systems (EASs) on odontoblast-like cells. Paper discs (n = 132) were impregnated with 10 µL of each EAS—R1, R2, R3, R4, and R5 (in an ascending order of hydrophilicity), followed by photoactivation. R1 and R2 are nonsolvated hydrophobic blends, R3 represents a simplified etch-and-rinse adhesive system, and R4 and R5 represent simplified self-etch adhesive systems. Discs were immersed in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium for 24 h to obtain eluates applied on MDPC-23 cell cultures. No material was applied on discs used as control (R0). Cell viability [3-(4,5-dimethythiazol-2-yl)−2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide assay], total protein (TP) production, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, type of cell death, and degree of monomer conversion Fourier transform infrared (%DC-FTIR) were evaluated. Data were analyzed by Kruskal–Wallis and Mann–Whitney tests (α = 0.05). Considering R0 (control) as having 100% of cell viability, R1, R2, R3, R4, and R5 reduced the metabolic activity of cells by 36.4, 3.1, 0.2, 21.5, and 65.7%, respectively, but only R1 and R5 differed from R0. Comparing with R0, lower TP production was observed for R1, R4, and R5, while ALP activity decreased for R1 and R5. Necrotic cell death was predominant for all EASs, but only R1, R4, and R5 differed from R0. Only R5 presented a different apoptotic cell death ratio from R0. R1 presented the lowest %DC (ca. 37%), whereas R4 and R5 presented the highest (ca. 56%). In conclusion, R2 and R3 were not toxic to the MDPC-23 cells, suggesting that the degree of hydrophilicity or %DC of the EASs alone were not responsible for their cytopathic effects. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater, 101B: 1498–1507, 2013.