Alteration of estrogen-regulated gene expression in human cells induced by the agricultural and horticultural herbicide glyphosate

Hum Exp Toxicol. 2007 Sep;26(9):747-52. doi: 10.1177/0960327107083453.


Gene expression is altered in mammalian cells (MCF-7 cells), by exposure to a variety of chemicals that mimic steroid hormones or interact with endocrine receptors or their co-factors. Among those populations chronically exposed to these endocrine disruptive chemicals are persons, and their families, who are employed in agriculture or horticulture, or who use agricultural/horticultural chemicals. Among the chemicals most commonly used, both commercially and in the home, is the herbicide glyphosate. Although glyphosate is commonly considered to be relatively non-toxic, we utilized in vitro DNA microarray analysis of this chemical to evaluate its capacity to alter the expression of a variety of genes in human cells. We selected a group of genes, determined by DNA microarray analysis to be dysregulated, and used quantitative real-time PCR to corroborate their altered states of expression. We discussed the reported function of those genes, with emphasis on altered physiological states that are capable of initiating adverse health effects that might be anticipated if gene expression were significantly altered in either adults or embryos exposed in utero.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Estradiol / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects*
  • Glycine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glycine / toxicity
  • Herbicides / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Risk Assessment


  • Herbicides
  • glyphosate
  • Estradiol
  • Glycine