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Toxicology. 2003 Mar 14;185(1-2):1-8.

Influence of malathion pretreatment on the toxicity of anilofos in male rats: a biochemical interaction study.

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  • 1Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar 243 122, Uttar Pradesh, India.


Toxicity of organophosphates stems mainly from the accumulation of acetylcholine due to inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE). The consequences of excess acetylcholine depend on the events initiated by the interaction of acetylcholine with cholinergic receptors. Lipid peroxidation (LPO) induced by organophosphates also seems to be mediated via cholinergic receptors. Anilofos is a widely used thionoorganophosphate herbicide, while malathion is a thionoorganophosphate insecticide. Thionoorganophosphates undergo mixed function oxidase (MFO)-catalyzed bioactivation to oxons and can induce cholinergic crisis in mammals. Thus, factors (e.g. exposure to certain xenobiotics) which alter the MFO activity, can be assumed to affect the toxicity of these organophosphates. It was investigated in rats if malathion as an inhibitor of MFO can alter the toxicity of anilofos, examining certain biochemical traits in blood, brain and liver. Malathion or anilofos and their combination did not produce any obvious signs of toxicity. Malathion did not alter the anticholinesterase action of anilofos in blood, brain and liver. LPO was increased in erythrocytes, brain and liver with anilofos or malathion and their combination. Production of lipid peroxide in brain of malathion-pretreated rats given anilofos was significantly greater than in rats given anilofos alone. Malathion decreased glutathione (GSH) contents of liver and blood. Glutathione-S-transferase (GST) activity was decreased in the liver with malathion and its combination with anilofos. Total adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) activity was not affected. Activities of Mg(2+)-ATPase and Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase were increased in the liver and erythrocytes, respectively, with the pesticide combination. Protein level in plasma was decreased with malathion and its combination with anilofos, but only with the combination in the liver. Results of the study indicate that malathion pretreament may not essentially alter the anticholinesterase action of anilofos, but may enhance anilofos-mediated oxidative damage to rat brain.

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