Gut microbiota and neurological effects of glyphosate

Neurotoxicology. 2019 Dec;75:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2019.08.006. Epub 2019 Aug 20.

Abstract

There are currently various concerns regarding certain environmental toxins and the possible impact they can have on developmental diseases. Glyphosate (Gly) is the most utilised herbicide in agriculture, although its widespread use is generating controversy in the scientific world because of its probable carcinogenic effect on human cells. Gly performs as an inhibitor of 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phospate synthase (EPSP synthase), not only in plants, but also in bacteria. An inhibiting effect on EPSP synthase from intestinal microbiota has been reported, affecting mainly beneficial bacteria. To the contrary, Clostridium spp. and Salmonella strains are shown to be resistant to Gly. Consequently, researchers have suggested that Gly can cause dysbiosis, a phenomenon which is characterised by an imbalance between beneficial and pathogenic microorganisms. The overgrowth of bacteria such as clostridia generates high levels of noxious metabolites in the brain, which can contribute to the development of neurological deviations. This work reviews the impact of Gly-induced intestinal dysbiosis on the central nervous system, focusing on emotional, neurological and neurodegenerative disorders. A wide variety of factors were investigated in relation to brain-related changes, including highlighting genetic abnormalities, pregnancy-associated problems, diet, infections, vaccines and heavy metals. However, more studies are required to determine the implication of the most internationally used herbicide, Gly, in behavioural disorders.

Keywords: 5-Enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phospate synthase; Alzheimer; Anxiety; Autism; Depression; Glyphosate; Gut-brain axis; Microbiota; Parkinson; Probiotics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dysbiosis / chemically induced
  • Dysbiosis / complications
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Glycine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glycine / metabolism
  • Glycine / toxicity
  • Herbicides / metabolism
  • Herbicides / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology

Substances

  • Herbicides
  • glyphosate
  • Glycine