Chlorpyrifos affects phenotypic outcomes in a model of mammalian neurodevelopment: critical stages targeting differentiation in PC12 cells.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos (CPF) adversely affects mammalian brain development through multiple mechanisms. To determine if CPF directly affects neuronal cell replication and phenotypic fate, and to identify the vulnerable stages of differentiation, we exposed PC12 cells, a model for mammalian neurodevelopment, to CPF concentrations spanning the threshold for cholinesterase inhibition (5-50 microM) and conducted evaluations during mitosis and in early and mid-differentiation. In undifferentiated cells, exposure to 5 microM CPF for 1-3 days reduced DNA synthesis significantly without eliciting cytotoxicity. At the same time, CPF increased the expression of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), the enzymatic marker for the catecholamine phenotype, without affecting choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), the corresponding marker for the cholinergic phenotype. Upon exposure to nerve growth factor (NGF), PC12 cells developed neuritic projections in association with vastly increased TH and ChAT expression accompanying differentiation into the two phenotypes. CPF exposure begun at the start of differentiation significantly reduced ChAT but not TH activity. In contrast, when CPF was added in mid-differentiation (4 days of NGF pretreatment), ChAT was unaffected and TH was increased slightly. Thus, CPF exerts stage-specific effects, reducing DNA synthesis in the undifferentiated state, impairing development of the cholinergic phenotype at the start of differentiation, and promoting expression of the catecholaminergic phenotype both in undifferentiated and differentiated cells. CPF administration in vivo produces deficits in the number of neurons and cholinergic function, and because we were able to reproduce these effects in vitro, our results suggest that CPF directly influences the phenotypic fate of neuronal precursors.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Jameson, RR; Seidler, FJ; Qiao, D; Slotkin, TA

Published Date

  • May 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 114 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 667 - 672

PubMed ID

  • 16675418

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC1459917

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0091-6765

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1289/ehp.8750


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States