Differential microRNA expression in the prefrontal cortex of mouse offspring induced by glyphosate exposure during pregnancy and lactation.
Exp Ther Med. 2018 Mar ;15(3):2457-2467. Epub 2017 Dec 21. PMID: 29467848
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in numerous herbicide formulations. The role of glyphosate in neurotoxicity has been reported in human and animal models. However, the detailed mechanism of the role of glyphosate in neuronal development remains unknown. Recently, several studies have reported evidence linking neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) with gestational glyphosate exposure. The current group previously identified microRNAs (miRNAs) that are associated with the etiology of NDDs, but their expression levels in the developing brain following glyphosate exposure have not been characterized. In the present study, miRNA expression patterns were evaluated in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of 28 postnatal day mouse offspring following glyphosate exposure during pregnancy and lactation. An miRNA microarray detected 55 upregulated and 19 downregulated miRNAs in the PFC of mouse offspring, and 20 selected deregulated miRNAs were further evaluated by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR). A total of 11 targets of these selected deregulated miRNAs were analyzed using bioinformatics. Gene Ontology (GO) terms associated with the relevant miRNAs included neurogenesis (GO:0050769), neuron differentiation (GO:0030182) and brain development (GO:0007420). The genes Cdkn1a, Numbl, Notch1, Fosl1 and Lef1 are involved in the Wnt and Notch signaling pathways, which are closely associated with neural development. PCR arrays for the mouse Wnt and Notch signaling pathways were used to validate the effects of glyphosate on the expression pattern of genes involved in the Wnt and Notch pathways. Nr4a2 and Wnt7b were downregulated, while Dkk1, Dixdc1, Runx1, Shh, Lef-1 and Axin2 were upregulated in the PFC of mice offspring following glyphosate exposure during pregnancy and lactation. These results indicated abnormalities of the Wnt/β-catenin and Notch pathways. These findings may be of particular interest for understanding the mechanism of glyphosate-induced neurotoxicity, as well as helping to clarify the association between glyphosate and NDDs.