Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the most widely used broad spectrum herbicides in the world. Even though numerous studies demonstrate the effects of Glyphosate based herbicides on developing mammals, the use of these formulations keeps expanding. The nervous system is highly affected by exposure to this compound. On this account, we study the effects of glyphosate exposure on brain developement and maturation in rats by in vivo and in vitro assays.
We used the rotarod test to evaluate motor coordination and balance in juvenile rats. Our results indicate that Glyphosate treatment caused a deficiency in these motor skills when compared to control groups. Considering previous studies, we then analyzed -catenin expression in different brain regions such as frontal cortex, dorsal striatum and cerebellum by Western Blot. B-catenin is a crucial component of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway, which plays a major role in the central nervous system developement and functioning. Our results show that Glyphosate exposure leads to changes in the b-catenin expression pattern in developing rats. In addition, studies in mature cultured neurons also show alterations in the regulation of B-catenin expression when treated with glyphosate during a critical period of synpatogenisis.
Taken together, these findings suggest exposure to glyphosate during development induces motor dysfunctions, likely accompanied by a downregulation of the Wnt-B-catenin pathway.