Agricultural groundwater with high nitrates and dissolved salts given to pregnant mice alters brain development in the offspring

This new paper, at the interface between environment and health, shows that groundwater contaminated by agricultural inputs from the Indian site of Berambadi (M-TROPICS observatory), significantly impacts the brain development of mice when given to pregnant or lactating mice: fewer neurons, fewer astrocytes (white blood cells in the brain), and more dead cells in the brains were observed than in controls who consumed water from the nearby Mule Hole forested site (also M-TROPICS observatory). These phenomena were observed at different stages of development, up to 21 days after birth, which in humans is equivalent to one year of age. Groundwater pumped for irrigation is often consumed by Indian farmers while working in the fields.

This work is a collaboration between IRD, INSERM, and Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore) through the International Research Project CEFIRSE (INSU, IRD, INRA, UPS partnership).

The paper was published open access in the journal Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety.

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