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.
The type of corn fed to the rats was MON810: Ajeeb YG, a GM version of Ajeeb, a locally adapted variety of corn grown in Egypt. MON810: Ajeeb YG was developed by Monsanto for the Egyptian market. The GM-fed rats ate a diet containing 30% of MON810: Ajeeb YG corn. Control rats were fed the same amount of non-GM corn.
In the GM-fed rats, some areas of the villi – finger-like structures in the intestine that absorb nutrients from food – were damaged. They were distorted and flattened, with some cells joined together. The damage can clearly be seen in the images included in the study. The crypts (mucosal glands) were disrupted and blood vessels were congested. Signs of inflammation – white blood cell infiltration – were seen around areas of damage. In addition, the cells of the intestinal lining were abnormal in structure.
Other signs of damage included increased shedding of mucosal cells, increased numbers of mucous-secreting goblet cells, and higher rates of division of cells lining the crypts.
The study, conducted by Marwa Ibrahim, MD and Ebtsam Okasha of the Faculty of Medicine at Tanta University, Egypt, was published in the journal Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology (abstract below).
The researchers concluded that “consumption of GM-corn profoundly alters the jejunal histological [microscopic] structure”. They added, “Results from the current study could show that in spite of the assuring reports on GM products, GM corn has profoundly altered the histological structure of the jejunal mucosa at many levels and revealed several alarming signs, as the proliferative and eroded hemorrhagic lesions in addition to several ultrastructural alterations described here for the first time for jejunum under GM corn influence.”
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