Glyphosate is found in a large array of non-selective herbicides such as Roundup® (Monsanto, Creve Coeur, MO, USA) and is by far the most widely used herbicide. Recent work in rodent models suggests that glyphosate-based herbicides during development can affect neuronal communication and result in altered behaviours, albeit through undefined mechanisms of action. To our knowledge, no study has investigated the effects glyphosate or its formulation in herbicide on maternal behaviour and physiology. In the present study, relatively low doses of glyphosate (5 mg kg-1 d-1 ), Roundup® (5 mg kg-1 d-1 glyphosate equivalent), or vehicle were administered by ingestion to Sprague-Dawley rats from gestational day (GD) 10 to postpartum day (PD)22. The treatments significantly altered licking behaviour toward pups between PD2 and PD6. We also show in the dams at PD22 that Roundup exposure affected the maturation of doublecortin-immunoreactive new neurones in the dorsal dentate gyrus of the hippocampus of the mother. In addition, the expression of synaptophysin was up-regulated by glyphosate in the dorsal and ventral dentate gyrus and CA3 regions of the hippocampus, and down-regulated in the cingulate gyrus. Although a direct effect of glyphosate alone or its formulation on the central nervous system is currently not clear, we show that gut microbiota is significantly altered by the exposure to the pesticides, with significant alteration of the phyla Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. This is the first study to provide evidence that glyphosate alone or in formulation (Roundup) differentially affects maternal behaviour and modulates neuroplasticity and gut microbiota in the mother.
Keywords: cingulate gyrus; gut microbiota; hippocampus; neurogenesis; neuroplasticity.
© 2019 British Society for Neuroendocrinology.