Gilles-Eric Séralini

Université de Caen Normandie, Caen, Lower Normandy, France

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Publications (46)99.68 Total impact

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    Full-text · Dataset · Oct 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) are the major pesticides used worldwide. Converging evidence suggests that GBH, such as Roundup, pose a particular health risk to liver and kidneys although low environmentally relevant doses have not been examined. To address this issue, a 2-year study in rats administering 0.1 ppb Roundup (50 ng/L glyphosate equivalent) via drinking water (giving a daily intake of 4 ng/kg bw/day of glyphosate) was conducted. A marked increased incidence of anatomorphological and blood/urine biochemical changes was indicative of liver and kidney structure and functional pathology. In order to confirm these findings we have conducted a transcriptome microarray analysis of the liver and kidneys from these same animals. The expression of 4224 and 4447 transcript clusters (a group of probes corresponding to a known or putative gene) were found to be altered respectively in liver and kidney (p < 0.01, q < 0.08). Changes in gene expression varied from -3.5 to 3.7 fold in liver and from -4.3 to 5.3 in kidneys. Among the 1319 transcript clusters whose expression was altered in both tissues, ontological enrichment in 3 functional categories among 868 genes were found. First, genes involved in mRNA splicing and small nucleolar RNA were mostly upregulated, suggesting disruption of normal spliceosome activity. Electron microscopic analysis of hepatocytes confirmed nucleolar structural disruption. Second, genes controlling chromatin structure (especially histone-lysine N-methyltransferases) were mostly upregulated. Third, genes related to respiratory chain complex I and the tricarboxylic acid cycle were mostly downregulated. Pathway analysis suggests a modulation of the mTOR and phosphatidylinositol signalling pathways. Gene disturbances associated with the chronic administration of ultra-low dose Roundup reflect a liver and kidney lipotoxic condition and increased cellular growth that may be linked with regeneration in response to toxic effects causing damage to tissues. Observed alterations in gene expression were consistent with fibrosis, necrosis, phospholipidosis, mitochondrial membrane dysfunction and ischemia, which correlate with and thus confirm observations of pathology made at an anatomical, histological and biochemical level. Our results suggest that chronic exposure to a GBH in an established laboratory animal toxicity model system at an ultra-low, environmental dose can result in liver and kidney damage with potential significant health implications for animal and human populations.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Environmental Health
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    ABSTRACT: Glyphosate-based herbicides (GlyBH), including Roundup, are the most widely used pesticides worldwide. Their uses have increased exponentially since their introduction on the market. Residue levels in food or water, as well as human exposures, are escalating. We have reviewed the toxic effects of GlyBH measured below regulatory limits by evaluating the published literature and regulatory reports. We reveal a coherent body of evidence indicating that GlyBH could be toxic below the regulatory lowest observed adverse effect level for chronic toxic effects. It includes teratogenic, tumorigenic and hepatorenal effects. They could be explained by endocrine disruption and oxidative stress, causing metabolic alterations, depending on dose and exposure time. Some effects were detected in the range of the recommended acceptable daily intake. Toxic effects of commercial formulations can also be explained by GlyBH adjuvants, which have their own toxicity, but also enhance glyphosate toxicity. These challenge the assumption of safety of GlyBH at the levels at which they contaminate food and the environment, albeit these levels may fall below regulatory thresholds. Neurodevelopmental, reproductive, and transgenerational effects of GlyBH must be revisited, since a growing body of knowledge suggests the predominance of endocrine disrupting mechanisms caused by environmentally relevant levels of exposure. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Food and Chemical Toxicology
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    ABSTRACT: The quality of diets in rodent feeding trials is crucial. We describe the contamination with environmental pollutants of 13 laboratory rodent diets from 5 continents. Measurements were performed using accredited methodologies. All diets were contaminated with pesticides (1-6 out of 262 measured), heavy metals (2-3 out of 4, mostly lead and cadmium), PCDD/Fs (1-13 out of 17) and PCBs (5-15 out of 18). Out of 22 GMOs tested for, Roundup-tolerant GMOs were the most frequently detected, constituting up to 48% of the diet. The main pesticide detected was Roundup, with residues of glyphosate and AMPA in 9 of the 13 diets, up to 370 ppb. The levels correlated with the amount of Roundup-tolerant GMOs. Toxic effects of these pollutants on liver, neurodevelopment, and reproduction are documented. The sum of the hazard quotients of the pollutants in the diets (an estimator of risk with a threshold of 1) varied from 15.8 to 40.5. Thus the chronic consumption of these diets can be considered at risk. Efforts toward safer diets will improve the reliability of toxicity tests in biomedical research and regulatory toxicology.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · PLoS ONE
  • Steeve Gress · Sandrine Lemoine · Paolo-Emilio Puddu · Gilles-Eric Séralini · René Rouet
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    ABSTRACT: Roundup (R), a glyphosate (G)-based herbicide (GBH), containing unknown adjuvants is widely dispersed around the world. Used principally by farmers, intoxications have increasingly been reported. We have studied R effects (containing 36 % of G) on right ventricular tissues (male Sprague–Dawley rats, up to 20,000 ppm and female New Zealand rabbits, at 25 and 50 ppm), to investigate R cardiac electrophysiological actions in vitro. We tested the reduced Ca++ intracellular uptake mechanism as one potential cause of the electrical abnormalities after GBH superfusion, using the Na+/K+-ATPase inhibitor ouabain or the 1,4-dihydropyridine L-type calcium channel agonist BAY K 8644 which increases I Ca. R concentrations were selected based on human blood ranges found after acute intoxication. The study showed dose-dependent V max, APD50 and APD90 variations during 45 min of R superfusion. At the highest concentrations tested, there was a high incidence of conduction blocks, and 30-min washout with normal Tyrode solution did not restore excitability. We also observed an increased incidence of arrhythmias at different doses of R. Ouabain and BAY K 8644 prevented V max decrease, APD90 increase and the cardiac inexcitability induced by R 50 ppm. Glyphosate alone (18 and 180 ppm) had no significant electrophysiological effects. Thus, the action potential prolonging effect of R pointing to I Ca interference might explain both conduction blocks and proarrhythmia in vitro. These mechanisms may well be causative of QT prolongation, atrioventricular conduction blocks and arrhythmias in man after GBH acute intoxications as reported in retrospective hospital records.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2014 · Cardiovascular Toxicology
  • Steeve Gress · Sandrine Lemoine · Gilles-Eric Séralini · Paolo Emilio Puddu
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    ABSTRACT: In glyphosate (G)-based herbicides (GBHs), the declared active principle G is mixed with several adjuvants that help it to penetrate the plants' cell membranes and its stabilization and liposolubility. Its utilization is growing with genetically modified organisms engineered to tolerate GBH. Millions of farmers suffer poisoning and death in developing countries, and occupational exposures and suicide make GBH toxicity a worldwide concern. As GBH is found in human plasma, widespread hospital facilities for measuring it should be encouraged. Plasma determination is an essential prerequisite for risk assessment in GBH intoxication. Only when standard ECGs were performed, at least one abnormal ECG was detected in the large majority of cases after intoxication. QTc prolongation and arrhythmias along with first-degree atrioventricular block were observed after GBH intoxication. Thus, life-threatening arrhythmias might be the cause of death in GBH intoxication. Cardiac cellular effects of GBH were reviewed along with few case reports in men and scanty larger studies. We observed in two mammalian species (rats and rabbits) direct cardiac electrophysiological changes, conduction blocks and arrhythmias among GBH-mediated effects. Plasmatic (and urine) level determinations of G and electrocardiographic Holter monitoring seem warranted to ascertain whether cardiovascular risk among agro-alimentary workers might be defined.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Cardiovascular Toxicology
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    ABSTRACT: The health effects of a Roundup-tolerant NK603 genetically modified (GM) maize (from 11% in the diet), cultivated with or without Roundup application and Roundup alone (from 0.1 ppb of the full pesticide containing glyphosate and adjuvants) in drinking water, were evaluated for 2 years in rats. This study constitutes a follow-up investigation of a 90-day feeding study conducted by Monsanto in order to obtain commercial release of this GMO, employing the same rat strain and analyzing biochemical parameters on the same number of animals per group as our investigation. Our research represents the first chronic study on these substances, in which all observations including tumors are reported chronologically. Thus, it was not designed as a carcinogenicity study. We report the major findings with 34 organs observed and 56 parameters analyzed at 11 time points for most organs. Biochemical analyses confirmed very significant chronic kidney deficiencies, for all treatments and both sexes; 76% of the altered parameters were kidney-related. In treated males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5 to 5.5 times higher. Marked and severe nephropathies were also generally 1.3 to 2.3 times greater. In females, all treatment groups showed a two- to threefold increase in mortality, and deaths were earlier. This difference was also evident in three male groups fed with GM maize. All results were hormone- and sex-dependent, and the pathological profiles were comparable. Females developed large mammary tumors more frequently and before controls; the pituitary was the second most disabled organ; the sex hormonal balance was modified by consumption of GM maize and Roundup treatments. Males presented up to four times more large palpable tumors starting 600 days earlier than in the control group, in which only one tumor was noted. These results may be explained by not only the non-linear endocrine-disrupting effects of Roundup but also by the overexpression of the EPSPS transgene or other mutational effects in the GM maize and their metabolic consequences. Our findings imply that long-term (2 year) feeding trials need to be conducted to thoroughly evaluate the safety of GM foods and pesticides in their full commercial formulations.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Roundup is the major pesticide used in agriculture worldwide; it is a glyphosate-based herbicide. Its molecular effects are studied following an acute exposure (0.5%) of fifteen 60-day-old male rats during an 8-day period. Endocrine (aromatase, estrogen and androgen receptors, Gper1 in testicular and sperm mRNAs) and testicular functions (organ weights, sperm parameters and expression of the blood-testis barrier markers) were monitored at days 68, 87, and 122 after treatment, spermiogenesis and spermatogenesis. The major disruption is an increase of aromatase mRNA levels at least by 50% in treated rats at all times, as well as the aromatase protein. We have also shown a similar increase of Gper1 expression at day 122 and a light modification of BTB markers. A rise of abnormal sperm morphology and a decrease of the expression of protamine 1 and histone 1 testicular in epididymal sperm are observed despite a normal sperm concentration and motility.
    No preview · Article · May 2014 · Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology
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    Robin Mesnage · Gilles-Eric Séralini
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    ABSTRACT: In the matter of health issues, public policy is regularly shaken by health crises or unexpected scientific discoveries. This chapter overlooks pesticide toxicity, focusing on agricultural genetically modified organisms (GMOs) because they are essentially pesticide-plants, designed to tolerate and/or produce new pesticide residues in food and feed. It also describes links between agricultural GMOs and pesticides. The application of genetic engineering in agricultural practices was advocated as the most important recent advance in plant protection for the last decades. The industry claimed to reduce the use of pesticides by introducing genetically modified plants. The chapter also describes how formulated pesticides are mixtures which have not been investigated for their long-term toxicities. Long-term and multigenerational testing in vivo often appears essential. This can be accomplished within two years on rats with raw data being transparent to the scientific community to allow healthy debate before the next health crisis.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Pesticides are used throughout the world as mixtures called formulations. They contain adjuvants, which are often kept confidential and are called inerts by the manufacturing companies, plus a declared active principle, which is usually tested alone. We tested the toxicity of 9 pesticides, comparing active principles and their formulations, on three human cell lines (HepG2, HEK293, and JEG3). Glyphosate, isoproturon, fluroxypyr, pirimicarb, imidacloprid, acetamiprid, tebuconazole, epoxiconazole, and prochloraz constitute, respectively, the active principles of 3 major herbicides, 3 insecticides, and 3 fungicides. We measured mitochondrial activities, membrane degradations, and caspases 3/7 activities. Fungicides were the most toxic from concentrations 300-600 times lower than agricultural dilutions, followed by herbicides and then insecticides, with very similar profiles in all cell types. Despite its relatively benign reputation, Roundup was among the most toxic herbicides and insecticides tested. Most importantly, 8 formulations out of 9 were up to one thousand times more toxic than their active principles. Our results challenge the relevance of the acceptable daily intake for pesticides because this norm is calculated from the toxicity of the active principle alone. Chronic tests on pesticides may not reflect relevant environmental exposures if only one ingredient of these mixtures is tested alone.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014
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    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Food and Chemical Toxicology
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    Robin Mesnage · steeve gress · Nicolas Defarge · Gilles-Eric Séralini

    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013
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    ABSTRACT: Our recent work (Séralini et al., 2012) remains to date the most detailed study involving the life-long consumption of an agricultural genetically modified organism (GMO). This is true especially for NK603 maize for which only a 90-day test for commercial release was previously conducted using the same rat strain (Hammond et al., 2004). It is also the first long term detailed research on mammals exposed to a highly diluted pesticide in its total formulation with adjuvants. This may explain why 75% of our first criticisms arising within a week, among publishing authors, come from plant biologists, some developing patents on GMOs, even if it was a toxicological paper on mammals, and from Monsanto Company who owns both the NK603 GM maize and Roundup herbicide (R). Our study has limits like any one, and here we carefully answer to all criticisms from agencies, consultants and scientists, that were sent to the Editor or to ourselves. At this level, a full debate is biased if the toxicity tests on mammals of NK603 and R obtained by Monsanto Company remain confidential and thus unavailable in an electronic format for the whole scientific community to conduct independent scrutiny of the raw data. In our article, the conclusions of long-term NK603 and Roundup toxicities came from the statistically highly discriminant findings at the biochemical level in treated groups in comparison to controls, because these findings do correspond in an blinded analysis to the pathologies observed in organs, that were in turn linked to the deaths by anatomopathologists. GM NK603 and R cannot be regarded as safe to date.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · Food and chemical toxicology: an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association
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    Emilie Clair · Robin Mesnage · Carine Travert · Gilles-Éric Séralini

    Full-text · Dataset · Nov 2012
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    Full-text · Dataset · Nov 2012
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    ABSTRACT: The assessment of the impacts of growing genetically modified (GM) crops remains a major political and scientific challenge in Europe. Concerns have been raised by the evidence of adverse and unexpected environmental effects and differing opinions on the outcomes of environmental risk assessments (ERA). The current regulatory system is hampered by insufficiently developed methods for GM crop safety testing and introduction studies. Improvement to the regulatory system needs to address the lack of well designed GM crop monitoring frameworks, professional and financial conflicts of interest within the ERA research and testing community, weaknesses in consideration of stakeholder interests and specific regional condi- tions, and the lack of comprehensive assessments that address the environmental and socio-economic risk assessment interface. To address these challenges, we propose a European Network for systematic GMO impact assessment (ENSyGMO) with the aim directly to enhance ERA and post-market environmental monitoring (PMEM) of GM crops, to harmonize and ultimately secure the long-term socio-political impact of the ERA process and the PMEM in the EU. These goals would be achieved with a multi-dimen- sional and multi-sector approach to GM crop impact assessment, targeting the variability and complexity of the EU agro-environment and the relationship with relevant socio-economic factors. Specifically, we propose to develop and apply methodologies for both indicator and field site selection for GM crop ERA and PMEM, embedded in an EU-wide typology of agro-environments. These methodologies should be applied in a pan-European field testing network using GM crops. The design of the field experiments and the sampling methodology at these field sites should follow specific hypotheses on GM crop effects and use state-of-the art sampling, statistics and modelling approaches. To address public concerns and cre- ate confidence in the ENSyGMO results, actors with relevant specialist knowledge from various sectors should be involved.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · BIORISK ? Biodiversity and Ecosystem Risk Assessment
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    ABSTRACT: The health effects of a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize (from 11% in the diet), cultivated with or without Roundup, and Roundup alone (from 0.1 ppb in water), were studied 2 years in rats. In females, all treated groups died 2–3 times more than controls, and more rapidly. This difference was visible in 3 male groups fed GMOs. All results were hormone and sex dependent, and the pathological profiles were comparable. Females developed large mammary tumors almost always more often than and before controls, the pituitary was the second most disabled organ; the sex hormonal balance was modified by GMO and Roundup treatments. In treated males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5–5.5 times higher. This pathology was confirmed by optic and transmission electron microscopy. Marked and severe kidney nephropathies were also generally 1.3–2.3 greater. Males presented 4 times more large palpable tumors than controls which occurred up to 600 days earlier. Biochemistry data confirmed very significant kidney chronic deficiencies; for all treatments and both sexes, 76% of the altered parameters were kidney related. These results can be explained by the non linear endocrine-disrupting effects of Roundup, but also by the overexpression of the transgene in the GMO and its metabolic consequences.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · Food and Chemical Toxicology
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    ABSTRACT: Use of many pesticide products poses the problem of their effects on environment and health. Amongst them, the effects of glyphosate with its adjuvants and its by-products are regularly discussed. The aim of the present study was to shed light on the real impact on biodiversity and ecosystems of Roundup(®), a major herbicide used worldwide, and the glyphosate it contains, by the study of their effects on growth and viability of microbial models, namely, on three food microorganisms (Geotrichum candidum, Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus) widely used as starters in traditional and industrial dairy technologies. The presented results evidence that Roundup(®) has an inhibitory effect on microbial growth and a microbicide effect at lower concentrations than those recommended in agriculture. Interestingly, glyphosate at these levels has no significant effect on the three studied microorganisms. Our work is consistent with previous studies which demonstrated that the toxic effect of glyphosate was amplified by its formulation adjuvants on different human cells and other eukaryotic models. Moreover, these results should be considered in the understanding of the loss of microbiodiversity and microbial concentration observed in raw milk for many years.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2012 · Current Microbiology
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    ABSTRACT: We tested the presence of glyphosate in the urines of a farmer who sprayed a glyphosate based herbicide on his land, and in his family, as his children were born with birth defects that could be due to or promoted by pesticides. Gly-phosate residues were measured in urines a day before, during, and two days after spraying, by liquid chromatogra-phy-linear ion trap mass spectrometry. Glyphosate reached a peak of 9.5 µg/L in the farmer after spraying, and 2 µg/L were found in him and in one of his children living at a distance from the field, two days after the pulverization. Oral or dermal absorptions could explain the differential pesticide excretions, even in family members at a distance from the fields. A more detailed following of agricultural practices and family exposures should be advocated together with in-formation and recommendations.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · Journal of Environmental Protection
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    Emilie Clair · Robin Mesnage · Carine Travert · Gilles-Éric Séralini
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    ABSTRACT: The major herbicide used worldwide, Roundup, is a glyphosate-based pesticide with adjuvants. Glyphosate, its active ingredient in plants and its main metabolite (AMPA) are among the first contaminants of surface waters. Roundup is being used increasingly in particular on genetically modified plants grown for food and feed that contain its residues. Here we tested glyphosate and its formulation on mature rat fresh testicular cells from 1 to 10000ppm, thus from the range in some human urine and in environment to agricultural levels. We show that from 1 to 48h of Roundup exposure Leydig cells are damaged. Within 24-48h this formulation is also toxic on the other cells, mainly by necrosis, by contrast to glyphosate alone which is essentially toxic on Sertoli cells. Later, it also induces apoptosis at higher doses in germ cells and in Sertoli/germ cells co-cultures. At lower non toxic concentrations of Roundup and glyphosate (1ppm), the main endocrine disruption is a testosterone decrease by 35%. The pesticide has thus an endocrine impact at very low environmental doses, but only a high contamination appears to provoke an acute rat testicular toxicity. This does not anticipate the chronic toxicity which is insufficiently tested, and only with glyphosate in regulatory tests.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · Toxicology in Vitro