Behavioral and neurochemical effects of acute chlorpyrifos in rats: tolerance to prolonged inhibition of cholinesterase.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The preponderance of studies of tolerance to organophosphate (OP) cholinesterase (ChE) inhibitors indicates that functional recovery accompanies neurochemical compensations for the inhibited enzyme. Contrary to prediction, rats dosed with the OP diisopropylfluorophosphate (DFP) showed progressive and persistent impairment of cognitive and motor function over a 3-week period of daily exposure, despite neurochemical and pharmacological evidence of tolerance to its inhibition of ChE. To determine whether these functional effects of DFP resulted from inhibition of ChE and downregulation of muscarinic cholinergic receptors, rats were dosed with chlorpyrifos (CPF), an OP pesticide which inhibits blood and brain ChE of rats for weeks after a single injection. Long-Evans rats were trained to perform an appetitive test of memory and motor function and were then injected s.c. with 0, 60, 125 or 250 mg/kg of CPF in peanut oil and tested 5 days/week for 7 weeks. Unconditioned behavior was also rated for signs of cholinergic toxicity. CPF inhibited ChE activity in whole blood in a dose-related manner for more than 53 days. The degree and time course of ChE inhibition in blood and brain and the downregulation of muscarinic receptors in brain after 125 mg/kg of CPF closely paralleled the previously reported effects of 25 daily injections of 0.2 mg/kg of DFP. In addition, CPF-treated rats were subsensitive to oxotremorine-induced hypothermia for at least 32 days after CPF. However, functional deficits (in working memory and motor function) appeared within 2 days after injection of CPF and recovered within 3 weeks, long before ChE activity and receptor density returned to control levels. Thus, the effects of CPF were neither progressive nor as persistent as those seen during daily DFP injections. This difference suggests that the DFP-induced behavioral changes observed previously cannot be attributed entirely to its effects on ChE activity and changes in [3H]quinuclidinyl benzilate binding.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bushnell, PJ; Pope, CN; Padilla, S

Published Date

  • August 1993

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 266 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 1007 - 1017

PubMed ID

  • 7689099

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1521-0103

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-3565


  • eng