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Life Sci. 1986 Nov 17;39(20):1855-62.

Polychlorocycloalkane insecticide-induced convulsions in mice in relation to disruption of the GABA-regulated chloride ionophore.


The toxicity to mice of intraperitoneally-administered polychlorocycloalkane (PCCA) insecticides is generally correlated with their potency as in vitro inhibitors of the brain specific [35S]t-butylbicyclophosphorothionate [( 35S]TBPS) binding site with correction for metabolic activation and detoxification. These findings from our earlier studies are extended here to in vivo investigations relating convulsant action to inhibition of the TBPS binding site in poisoned mice. Radioligand binding assays involved brain P2 membranes washed three times with 1 mM EDTA to remove endogenous gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) or other modulator(s) which otherwise serves as a noncompetitive inhibitor of [35S]TBPS binding at the GABA-regulated chloride ionophore. Examination of lindane, technical toxaphene, toxaphene toxicant A, and 10 polychlorocyclodiene insecticides revealed 62 +/- 4% binding site inhibition 30 min after their LD50 doses with 32 +/- 3% inhibition at one-half and 6 +/- 3% inhibition at one-quarter of their LD50 doses. This correlation between binding site inhibition and convulsant action is also evident in dose- and time-dependency studies with endosulfan sulfate. The brain P2 membranes of treated mice contain the parent compound with each of the PCCAs plus activation products of some of the cyclodienes, i.e. endosulfan sulfate from alpha- and beta-endosulfan and 12-ketoendrin from isodrin and endrin. The finding that the brains of treated mice contain sufficient PCCA or its activation products to achieve a magnitude of [35S]TBPS binding site inhibition correlated with the severity of the poisoning signs supports the hypothesis that the acute toxicity of PCCA insecticides to mammals is due to disruption of the GABA-regulated chloride ionophore.

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