The mechanism of DNA damage induced by Roundup 360 PLUS, glyphosate and AMPA in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells - genotoxic risk assessement

Food Chem Toxicol. 2018 Oct;120:510-522. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2018.07.035. Epub 2018 Jul 25.


Glyphosate is the most heavily applied among pesticides in the world, and thus human exposure to this substance continues to increase. WHO changed classification of glyphosate to probably cancerogenic to humans, thus there is urgent need to assess in detail genotoxic mechanism of its action. We have assessed the effect of glyphosate, its formulation (Roundup 360 PLUS) and its main metabolite (aminomethylphosphonic acid, AMPA) in the concentration range from 1 to 1000 μM on DNA damage in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). The cells were incubated for 24 h. The compounds studied and formulation induced DNA single and double strand-breaks and caused purines and pyrimidines oxidation. None of compounds examined was capable of creating adducts with DNA, while those substances increased ROS (including OH) level in PBMCs. Roundup 360 PLUS caused damage to DNA even at 5 μM, while glyphosate and particularly AMPA induced DNA lesions from the concentration of 250 μM and 500 μM, respectively. DNA damage induced by glyphosate and its derivatives increased in order: AMPA, glyphosate, Roundup 360 PLUS. We may conclude that observed changes were not associated with direct interaction of xenobiotics studied with DNA, but the most probably they occurred through ROS-mediated effects.

Keywords: DNA adducts; DNA bases; Glyphosate; PBMCs; Reactive oxygen species; Roundup 360 PLUS.

MeSH terms

  • Comet Assay
  • DNA Damage*
  • DNA Repair
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Glycine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glycine / toxicity
  • Herbicides / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Isoxazoles / toxicity*
  • Monocytes / drug effects*
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • Mutagens / toxicity*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Plasmids
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Risk Assessment
  • Tetrazoles / toxicity*


  • Herbicides
  • Isoxazoles
  • Mutagens
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Tetrazoles
  • glyphosate
  • 2-amino-3-(3-hydrox-5(2-methyl-2H-tetrazol-5-yl)isoxazol-4-yl)propionic acid
  • Glycine