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Neurotoxicology. 2001 Feb;22(1):39-48.

Age-related effects of chlorpyrifos on acetylcholine release in rat brain.

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Department of Toxicology, College of Pharmacy, The University of Louisiana at Monroe 71209, USA.


Chlorpyrifos (CPF) is an organophosphorus insecticide that elicits toxicity through inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE). Young animals are markedly more sensitive than adults to the acute toxicity of CPF. We evaluated acetylcholine (ACh) release and its muscarinic receptor-mediated regulation (i.e. muscarinic autoreceptor function, MAF) during maturation as a possible contributing factor to age-related differences in sensitivity. Cortical and striatal slices were prelabeled with [3H]choline chloride, superfused in the presence or absence of the anticholinesterase physostigmine (PHY, 20 microM) and stimulated twice (S1 and S2) with a high concentration of potassium chloride (20 mM). Depolarization-stimulated ACh release (DSAR) was lowest in neonatal, intermediate in juvenile and markedly higher in adult tissues. MAF was not detectable in tissues from neonatal rats but was present in juvenile and adult tissues. ACh release and MAF were studied at 4, 24 and 96 h following oral exposure to CPF (0, 0.5 or 1 x LD10). In general, 40-60% and 80-90% maximal AChE inhibition followed exposure to the respective 0.5 and 1 x LD10 dosages. DSAR was decreased in neonatal cortex 1 day after LD10 exposure but increased in juvenile striatum 1 day after LD10 treatment. In adults, DSAR was reduced at 4 and 24 h after exposure, but increased 96 h after CPF exposure. In juveniles, MAF was reduced in both brain regions at 24 h after 0.5LD10 exposure and at 24 and 96 h after LD10 exposure in cortex. A later reduction in MAF was noted in adult tissues (i.e. only at 96 h after LD10 treatment). Together, the results suggest that ACh release dynamics in brain vary markedly during postnatal maturation and that acute CPF exposure can alter ACh release in an age-related manner. The functional status of presynaptic processes regulating neurotransmitter release may contribute to age-related neurotoxicity elicited by high-dose exposures to chlorpyrifos.

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