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Study Finds GM Corn Disturbs Immune System of Mice

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Italy's National Institute of Research on Food and Nutrition recently published a report online in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry (read study here) documenting significant disturbances in the immune system of young and old mice that have been fed the genetically modified corn MON 810.

The study evaluated the gut and peripheral immune response to corn in mice in vulnerable conditions-either very young or old. Weaning and old mice were fed a diet containing GM MON810 or its parental control corn or a pellet diet containing a non- GM corn for 30 and 90 days. MON810 maize induced alterations in the percentage of T and B cells and of CD4+, CD8+, γδT, and αβT subpopulations of weaning and old mice fed for 30 or 90 days, respectively, at the gut and peripheral sites. An increase of serum IL-6, IL-13, IL- 12p70, and MIP-1β after MON810 feeding was also found. These changes were not detected in the mice fed the non-GM diet.

The researchers said that the study's findings underscore the importance of considering the gut and peripheral immune response to GM crop ingestion as well as the age of the consumer when evaluating GM crop safety.

A press release issued by the Institute of Science in Society stated, "It is clear that genetic modification is inherently hazardous, as it invariably results in unpredictable and uncontrollable changes in the genome and the epigenome (pattern of gene expression) that impact on safety."