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Clin Chim Acta. 2006 Apr;366(1-2):1-13. Epub 2005 Dec 6.

Current issues in organophosphate toxicology.

Author information

  • Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, 4225 Roosevelt Way NE, Suite 100 Seattle, WA 98105, USA. lgcosta@u.washington.edu


Organophosphates (OPs) are one of the main classes of insecticides, in use since the mid 1940s. OPs can exert significant adverse effects in non-target species including humans. Because of the phosphorylation of acetylcholinesterase, they exert primarily a cholinergic toxicity, however, some can also cause a delayed polyneuropathy. Currently debated and investigated issues in the toxicology of OPs are presented in this review. These include: 1) possible long-term effects of chronic low-level exposures; 2) genetic susceptibility to OP toxicity; 3) developmental toxicity and neurotoxicity; 4) common mechanism of action; 5) mechanisms of delayed neurotoxicity; and 6) possible additional OP targets. Continuing and recent debates, and molecular advances in these areas, and their contributions to our understanding of the toxicology of OPs are discussed.

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