Glyphosate is an organophosphorus, broad-spectrum herbicide used to kill weeds. In the present study, we studied the effects of glyphosate on suckling rat pups. We assessed the antioxidant biomarkers and lipid peroxidation in the liver tissue along with the activity of liver enzymes following the administration of glyphosate. In addition, we determined the histopathological alterations in the liver in suckling pups and the percentage of DNA damage in blood cells. Glyphosate was administered during lactation at doses 0.3 mg/kg body weight (the acceptable daily intake, ADI), 31 mg/kg body weight (no-observed-adverse-effect level, NOAEL), and 1/100 LD50 dose (56 mg/kg body weight) for 21 days. At the end of each treatment, the suckling pups were separated into male and female pups. Glyphosate treatment resulted in reduced liver weight, with the maximum decrease observed with 1/100 LD50 dose. All doses of glyphosate significantly increased the activity of hepatic enzymes, i.e., aspartate transaminase (AST), alanine transaminase (ALT), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) (1/100 LD50 dose>NOAEL>ADI dose). Moreover, a marked increment in malondialdhyde level (MDA) along with significant inhibition in catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GSHPx) activity was detected in the liver tissue. Severe DNA damage was detected in pups treated with 1/100 LD50 dose. Histopathological examination of the liver demonstrated that all doses induced dilatation and congestion in the portal vein, whereas 1/100 LD50 dose resulted in fibrotic portal tracts. Based on these results, we conclude that exposure to even minimal levels of glyphosate exerts detrimental effects on the liver.
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