Glyphosate based- herbicide exposure affects gut microbiota, anxiety and depression-like behaviors in mice

Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2018 May-Jun:67:44-49. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2018 Apr 7.


Recently, a number of studies have demonstrated the profound relationship between gut microbiota (GM) alterations and behavioral changes. Glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) have been shown to induce behavioral impairments, and it is possible that they mediate the effects through an altered GM. In this study, we investigated the toxic effects of GBH on GM and its subsequent effects on the neurobehavioral functions in mice following acute, subchronic and chronic exposure to 250 or 500 mg/kg/day. The effect of these acute and repeated treatments was assessed at the behavioral level using the open field, the elevated plus maze, the tail suspension and splash tests. Then, mice were sacrificed and the intestinal samples were collected for GM analysis. Subchronic and chronic exposure to GBH induced an increase of anxiety and depression-like behaviors. In addition, GBH significantly altered the GM composition in terms of relative abundance and phylogenic diversity of the key microbes. Indeed, it decreased more specifically, Corynebacterium, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes and Lactobacillus in treated mice. These data reinforce the essential link between GM and GBH toxicity in mice and suggest that observed intestinal dysbiosis could increase the prevalence of neurobehavioral alterations.

Keywords: Anxiety; Depression; Dysbiosis; Glyphosate; Gut microbiota.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anxiety / chemically induced
  • Anxiety / microbiology*
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Depression / chemically induced
  • Depression / microbiology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Glycine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glycine / toxicity
  • Glyphosate
  • Herbicides / toxicity
  • Male
  • Mice


  • Herbicides
  • Glycine