Effects of Roundup® Pesticide on the Stability of Human Erythrocyte Membranes and Micronuclei Frequency in Bone Marrow Cells of Swiss Mice

Humberto Humberto G. Rodrigues11, Nilson Penha-Silva1, Mariana Ferreira Pereira de Araujo2, Hisao Nishijo2, Tales A. Aversi-Ferreira*, 2, 3
1 Institute of Genetics and Biochemistry, Federal University of Uberlândia, Uberlândia, MG, 38400-902, Brazil
2 System Emotional Science, Graduate School of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Toyama Sugitani 2630, Toyama 930-0194, Japan
3 Laboratory of Biochemistry and Neurosciences (LABINE), Federal University of Goiás, GO, 75400-020, Brazil

© 2011 Rodrigues et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the System Emotional Science, Graduate School of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Toyama Sugitani 2630, Toyama 930-0194, Japan; Tel: +81 076434-7216; Fax: +81 076434-5012; E-mail:


Pesticides can affect the health of living organisms through different mechanisms such as membrane denaturation. The evaluation of the deleterious effects of chemical agents on biological membranes can be performed through the analysis of the stability of erythrocytes against a concentration gradient of certain chemical agent in physiologic saline solution. This work analyzed the effect of the herbicide Roundup® on the membrane of human erythrocytes in blood samples collected with EDTA or heparin as anticoagulant agent. The results were analyzed through spectrophotometry at 540 nm and light microscopy. There was an agreement between spectrophometric and morphologic analyses. At the concentration limit recommended for agricultural purposes, Roundup® promoted 100% of hemolysis. The D50Roundup® values obtained for human blood samples collected with EDTA were not significantly different from those obtained for samples collected with heparin. However, the lysis curves presented lower absorbance values at 540 nm in the presence of blood collected with EDTA in relation to that collected with heparin, probably due to hemoglobin precipitation with EDTA. This work also analyzed the effects of three different Roundup® doses (0.148, 0.754 and 1.28 mg/kg) on the micronuclei frequency in bone marrow cells of Swiss mice in relation to a positive control of cyclophosphamide (250 mg/kg). The two highest Roundup® doses showed the same genotoxicity level as the positive control.

Keywords: Roundup®, glyphosate, membrane stability, toxicity.