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Toxicol Sci. 2000 Jul;56(1):133-40.

2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid disrupts the cytoskeleton and disorganizes the Golgi apparatus of cultured neurons.

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  • 1Laboratorio de Toxicología Experimental, Facultad de Ciencias Bioquímicas y Farmacéuticas, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Argentina.


2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) is a potent neurotoxic herbicide widely used in agriculture. The basic mechanisms by which 2,4-D produces cell damage have not yet been determined. In this study we have examined the effects of 2,4-D in primary cultures of cerebellar granule cells in order to obtain insights into the possible mechanisms underlying the toxic effects of this herbicide. The results obtained indicate that a 24-hour exposure to 2,4-D produces a striking and dose-dependent inhibition of neurite extension. This phenomenon is paralleled by a significant reduction in the cellular content of both dynamic and stable microtubules, a disorganization of the Golgi apparatus, and an inhibition in the synthesis of complex gangliosides. Interestingly, 2,4-D inhibits the in vitro polymerization of purified tubulin. Taken together, the present observations raise the possibility that at least one basic mechanism underlying 2,4-D neurotoxicity involves an inhibition of microtubule assembly. That event may cause a decreased neurite outgrowth response, and could also explain the observed differences in the pattern of ganglioside biosynthesis and/or the disorganization of the Golgi apparatus.

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