Herbicide/pesticide effects on intestinal epithelial growth

Stephanie B. Greenman, Michael Rutten, Wendy M. Fowler, Larry Scheffler, Linda A. Shortridge, Beth Brown, Brett C. Sheppard, Karen Deveney, Clifford Deveney, Donald Trunkey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of some common herbicides and pesticides on the growth of normal intestinal and colonic epithelial cells. Preconfluent cultures of normal rat intestinal cells (IEC-6 cell line) and normal human colonic epithelial cells were treated with 0.05-50 μM doses of atrazine, diazinon, and endosulfan. After 3 days of treatment, the change in cell proliferation was quantified by cell counting or the MTT growth assay. Both intestinal and colonic epithelial cell cultures had increases in cell growth when treated with as little as 1.0 μM atrazine, diazinon, or endosulfan. The observed changes in both cultured intestinal and colonic cell growth rates were not due to the influence of the vehicle control dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). That is, the treatment of the cell cultures with concentrations of DMSO as high as 0.5% for 3 days resulted in no change in cell growth compared with untreated control cultures. A consistent observation with all three of the compounds was that the highest doses (50 μM) had the least 'proliferative potential' in stimulating either IEC-6 cell or human colonic epithelial cell growth. Within the concentration range used, none of the herbicides or pesticides caused a decrease in cell proliferation below that of the untreated control cultures. Overall, treatment of IEC-6 cell cultures with atrazine, diazinon, or endosulfan produced a biphasic growth response, whereas the same treatment in the human colonic epithelial cell cultures produced a more sustained level of growth over the same period. This culture system may provide the basis for an in vitro model to further study the cellular and molecular basis of the effects of herbicides and pesticides on intestinal epithelial proliferation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-93
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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