Age- and gender-related differences in sensitivity to chlorpyrifos in the rat reflect developmental profiles of esterase activities.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Young rats are more sensitive than adults to a single oral dose of chlorpyrifos, an organophosphorus pesticide. A direct comparison of chlorpyrifos effects in young (postnatal day 17; PND17), adolescent (PND27), and adult (70 days) Long-Evans rats was conducted to determine quantitative and possibly qualitative differences in sensitivity in terms of behavioral changes and cholinesterase (ChE; total cholinesterase activity) inhibition at these three ages. Male and female rats were administered chlorpyrifos orally at one of two doses (PND17, 5 or 20 mg/kg; PND27, 20 or 50 mg/kg; adult, 20 or 80 mg/kg) and tested at either 3.5 or 6.5 h after dosing. Behavioral testing included observational evaluations and measurements of motor activity and was followed immediately by tissue collection for ChE determination in brain and blood. For both behavioral changes and ChE inhibition, peak effects occurred at 3.5 h in adult male and PND27 rats (both sexes) and at 6.5 h in adult female and PND17 rats (both sexes). Comparisons of the 20 mg/kg dose across ages showed generally less ChE inhibition and fewer behavioral effects with increasing age, except that the adult females were similar to the PND27 rats. The high dose used for each age group produced similar brain ChE inhibition (80-90%) and generally similar behavioral effects. Interestingly, a few end-points in the young rats were less affected than in adults at this level of ChE inhibition. The degree of ChE inhibition in the brain more closely paralleled the blood inhibition in the younger rats, compared to the adults. Carboxylesterase (CaE) and A-esterase are known to play an important role in the detoxification of organophosphates and may be partially responsible for these sensitivity differences. Liver and plasma CaE and A-esterase activities were measured in untreated male rats on PND1, 4, 7, 12, 17, and 21 and in adults of both sexes (82-92 days old). Preweanling rats had considerably less activity of both enzymes, and adult females had less liver CaE activity than males. These differences in detoxifying enzymes correlate with the age-related differences in behavioral and biochemical effects, as well as the gender differences seen in adult rats, and thus may be a major influence on the differential sensitivity to chlorpyrifos.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Moser, VC; Chanda, SM; Mortensen, SR; Padilla, S

Published Date

  • December 1998

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 46 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 211 - 222

PubMed ID

  • 10048124

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1096-0929

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1096-6080

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1006/toxs.1998.2526


  • eng