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Pre- and postnatal toxicity of the commercial glyphosate formulation in Wistar rats


Glyphosate is the active ingredient and polyoxyethyleneamine is the surfactant present in the herbicide Roundup® formulation commercialized in Brazil. The aim of this study was to assess the reproductive effects of glyphosate-Roundup® on male and female offspring of Wistar rats exposed during pregnancy and lactation. Dams were treated orally with water or 50, 150 or 450 mg/kg glyphosate during pregnancy (21–23 days) and lactation (21 days). These doses do not correspond to human exposure levels. The results showed that glyphosate-Roundup® did not induce maternal toxicity but induced adverse reproductive effects on male offspring rats: a decrease in sperm number per epididymis tail and in daily sperm production during adulthood, an increase in the percentage of abnormal sperms and a dose-related decrease in the serum testosterone level at puberty, and signs of individual spermatid degeneration during both periods. There was only a vaginal canal-opening delay in the exposed female offspring. These findings suggest that in utero and lactational exposure to glyphosate-Roundup® may induce significant adverse effects on the reproductive system of male Wistar rats at puberty and during adulthood.

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We are grateful to CAPES and FAPERGS for financial support. We also thank Dr. Rosana Nogueira de Morais for assistance with the radioimmunoassays.

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Correspondence to Eliane Dallegrave.

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Dallegrave, E., Mantese, F.D., Oliveira, R.T. et al. Pre- and postnatal toxicity of the commercial glyphosate formulation in Wistar rats. Arch Toxicol 81, 665–673 (2007).

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  • Male reproductive effects
  • Glyphosate
  • Polyoxyethyleneamine
  • Roundup®
  • Wistar rats