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

Current issues in organophosphate toxicology.

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  • 1Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, 4225 Roosevelt Way NE, Suite 100 Seattle, WA 98105, USA.


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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