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Toxicology. 2008 Nov 20;253(1-3):89-96. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2008.08.015. Epub 2008 Sep 7.

Enantioselective cytotoxicity of the insecticide bifenthrin on a human amnion epithelial (FL) cell line.

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  • 1Research Center of Environmental Science, College of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou 310032, People's Republic of China.


Synthetic pyrethroids (SPs) are used in preference to organochlorines and organophosphates due to their high efficiency, low toxicity to mammals, and ready biodegradability. Previous studies reported that enantioselective toxicity of SPs occurs in aquatic toxicity. Several studies have indicated that SPs could lead to oxidative damage in humans or animals which was associated with their toxic effects. Little is known about the differences in the effects of chronic toxicity induced by individual stereoisomers of chiral SPs. The present study was therefore undertaken to evaluate the enantioselectivity in cytotoxicity, genotoxicity caused by bifenthrin (BF) on human amnion epithelial (FL) cell lines and pesticidal activity on target organism. The cell proliferation and cytoflow analysis indicated that 1S-cis-BF presented more toxic effects than 1R-cis-BF above the concentration of 7.5 mg L(-1) (p>0.05). FL cells incubated with 1S-cis-BF exhibited a dose-dependent accumulation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS). In the comet assay, the number of cells with damaged DNA incubated with 1S-cis-BF was more than that with 1R-cis-BF (p<0.01). While the LC(50) values of enantiomer to the target pest on Pieris rapae L. show that 1R-cis-BF was 300 times more active than 1S-cis-BF. These results indicate that the enantioselective toxicity and activity of BF between non-target organism and target organism was reversal. These implications together suggest that assessment of the environmental safety and new pesticides development with chiral centers should consider enantioselectivity.

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