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Glyphosate-based herbicide exposure during pregnancy and lactation malprograms the male reproductive morphofunction in F1 offspring

  • Jakeline Liara Teleken (a1), Ellen Carolina Zawoski Gomes (a1), Carine Marmentini (a1), Milara Bruna Moi (a1), Rosane Aparecida Ribeiro (a2), Sandra Lucinei Balbo (a1), Elaine Manoela Porto Amorim (a3) and Maria Lúcia Bonfleur (a1)...

Abstract

One of the most consumed pesticides in the world is glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide ROUNDUP®. Studies demonstrate that glyphosate can act as an endocrine disruptor and that exposure to this substance at critical periods in the developmental period may program the fetus to induce reproductive damage in adulthood. Our hypothesis is that maternal exposure to glyphosate during pregnancy and lactation in mice will affect the development of male reproductive organs, impairing male fertility during adult life. Female mice consumed 0.5% glyphosate-ROUNDUP® in their drinking water [glyphosate-based herbicide (GBH) group] or filtered water [control (CTRL) group] from the fourth day of pregnancy until the end of the lactation period. Male F1 offspring were designated, according to their mother’s treatment, as CTRL-F1 and GBH-F1. Female mice that drank glyphosate displayed reduced body weight (BW) gain during gestation, but no alterations in litter size. Although GBH male F1 offspring did not exhibit modifications in BW, they demonstrated delayed testicular descent. Furthermore, at PND150, GBH-F1 mice presented a lower number of spermatozoa in the cauda epididymis and reduced epithelial height of the seminiferous epithelium. Notably, intratesticular testosterone concentrations were enhanced in GBH-F1 mice; we show that it is an effect associated with increased plasma and pituitary concentrations of luteinizing hormone. Therefore, data indicate that maternal exposure to glyphosate-ROUNDUP® during pregnancy and lactation may lead to decreased spermatogenesis and disruptions in hypothalamus–pituitary–testicular axis regulation in F1 offspring.

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Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Maria Lúcia Bonfleur, Laboratório de Fisiologia Endócrina e Metabolismo, Universidade Estadual do Oeste do Paraná (UNIOESTE), Cascavel, PR, CEP 85819-110, Brazil. Email: mlbonfleur@hotmail.com

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