Metabolomics and Shotgun Metagenomics Reveal Evidence That Glyphosate Exposure Affects the Gut Microbiome
Metabolon’s platform delivers interpretive depth not possible elsewhere.
Glyphosate is a common pesticide that targets the shikimate pathway of aromatic amino acid synthesis, specifically inhibiting an enzyme that is not present in mammalian systems. Therefore, it is highly specific to plants and some bacterial species. There has been some concern, however, that human exposure to glyphosate can affect health due to the alteration of the gut microbiome or by other, unknown mechanisms. A multi-omics approach provides valuable insights for investigating complex areas of science to enhance our understanding while Metabolon’s platform delivers interpretive depth not possible elsewhere. Additionally, the profiling of multiple matrices allowed for analysis of both microbiome derived compounds as well as how those changes may be reflected systemically, giving the work a much broader impact.
In this study, female rats were exposed either to glyphosate or the European pesticide formulation that contains glyphosate (as well as other compounds) at levels that correspond to either European or United States Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) or No Observable Adverse Effects (NOAEL) regulatory limits.
Using both metabolomics (of serum and cecal contents) and shotgun metagenomics to study the gut microbiome profiles, the researchers found evidence that glyphosate exposure can indeed affect the gut microbiome. Levels of shikimate and two related compounds were highly elevated in the cecal contents compared to the control group, consistent with its known mechanism of action. Metagenomics revealed a change in the gut microbiome population after 90 days of exposure to glyphosate. Metabolomics of serum from treated animals did not detect any shikimate related compounds, so it is still unclear what if any systemic effects are being experienced by the animals due to the changes in the microbiome. Serum metabolomics also suggested a possible increase in oxidative stress after exposure.
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