Herbicides Roundup Disrupt Sexual Hormones

Glyphosate-based herbicides are toxic and endocrine disruptors in human
cell lines

Céline Gasnier (a), Coralie Dumont (b), Nora Benachoura, Emilie Clair (a), Marie-
Christine Chagnon (b), Gilles-Eric Séralini (a)

(a) University of Caen, Institute of Biology, Lab. Biochemistry EA2608,
Esplanade de la Paix, 14032 Caen cedex, France
(b) University of Burgundy, Lab. Food Toxicology UMR1129, 1 Esplanade
Erasme, 21000 Dijon, France

Published in the journal Toxicology
Received 10 April 2009
Received in revised form 4 June 2009
Accepted 8 June 2009


Glyphosate-based herbicides are the most widely used across the world; they are commercialized in different formulations. Their residues are frequent pollutants in the environment. In addition, these herbicides are spread on most eaten transgenic plants, modified to tolerate high levels of these compounds in their cells. Up to 400ppm of their residues are accepted in some feed. We exposed human liver HepG2 cells, a well-known model to study xenobiotic toxicity, to four different formulations and to glyphosate, which is usually tested alone in chronic in vivo regulatory studies. We measured cytotoxicity with three assays (Alamar Blue®, MTT, ToxiLight®), plus genotoxicity (comet assay), anti-estrogenic (on ER , ER ) and anti-androgenic effects (on AR) using gene reporter tests. We also checked androgen to estrogen conversion by aromatase activity and mRNA. All parameters were disrupted at sub-agricultural doses with all formulations within 24 h. These effects were more dependent on the formulation than on the glyphosate concentration. First, we observed a human cell endocrine disruption from 0.5ppm on the androgen receptor in MDA-MB453-kb2 cells for the most active formulation (R400), then from 2ppm the transcriptional activities on both estrogen receptors were also inhibited on HepG2. Aromatase transcription and activity were disrupted from 10 ppm. Cytotoxic effects started at 10ppm with Alamar Blue assay (the most sensitive), and DNA damages at 5 ppm. A real cell impact of glyphosate-based herbicides residues in food, feed or in the environment has thus to be considered, and their classifications as carcinogens/mutagens/reprotoxics is discussed.


*Press Release CRIIGEN – July 2nd 2009*


Prof. Seralini’s group from CRIIGEN in the University of Caen, in collaboration with Pr. Chagnon’s group from the University of Dijon, have just published a new discovery, after having demonstrated Roundup toxicity at infinitesimal doses in particular in umbilical cord cells from newborns. At very low levels, for instance 800 times less than Roundup residues authorized in some GMOs for feed in United States, this kind of herbicide for a formulation sold in drugstores prevents the action of androgens, the masculinizing hormones. Then the action and formation of estrogens are also disrupted. The DNA damages in human cells begin around this level. These effects explain disturbing results of animal experiments and in human epidemiology. It is thus proposed to examine in regulatory instances the classification of Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides as reprotoxics and endocrine disruptors. These phenomena have been underestimated up to now because pesticides factories present in majority to authorities studies with glyphosate alone, however the commercialized mixture is a lot more active.

The study is published by the end of June 2009 in the international scientific journal /Toxicology/ by Gasnier et al.

Contact : Prof. Gilles-Eric Seralini, criigen@unicaen.fr



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