Rats fed GM Bt corn MON810 for only 90 days suffered serious damage to the surface mucous membranes of the jejunum (part of the small intestine), according to a new study from Egypt.

Effect of genetically modified corn on the jejunal mucosa of adult male albino rat

Full Paper: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27769625

Authors: Ibrahim MA, Okasha EF.


Genetically modified (GM) plants expressing insecticidal traits offer a new strategy for crop protection. GM-corn contains Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) genes producing delta endotoxins in the whole plant. Diet can influence the characteristics of the gastrointestinal tract altering its function and structure. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of GM-corn on the histological structure of jejunal mucosa of adult male albino rat using different histological, immunohistochemical and morphometrical methods. Twenty adult male albino rats were divided into two equal groups; control and GM-corn fed group administered with 30% GM-corn for 90days. Specimens from the jejunum were processed for light and electron microscopy. Immunohistochemical study was carried out using antibody against proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). Different morphometrical parameters were assessed. Specimens from GM-corn fed group showed different forms of structural changes. Focal destruction and loss of the villi leaving denuded mucosal surface alternating with stratified areas were observed, while some crypts appeared totally disrupted. Congested blood capillaries and focal infiltration with mononuclear cells were detected. Significant upregulation of PCNA expression, increase in number of goblet cells and a significant increase in both villous height and crypt depth were detected. Marked ultrastructural changes of some enterocytes with focal loss of the microvillous border were observed. Some enterocytes had vacuolated cytoplasm, swollen mitochondria with disrupted cristae and dilated rough endoplasmic reticulum (rER). Some cells had dark irregular nuclei with abnormally clumped chromatin. It could be concluded that consumption of GM-corn profoundly alters the jejunal histological structure.