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Neurotoxicology. 1989 Winter;10(4):707-15.

Interaction of the pyrethroid insecticides tetramethrin and cypermethrin with enteric cholinergic transmission in the guinea-pig.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine and Therapeutics, University of Pavia, Italy.


In electrically-stimulated longitudinal muscle-myenteric plexus preparations of the guinea-pig ileum, the Type I pyrethroid insecticide tetramethrin (1-100 microM) caused a biphasic response consisting of an early transient increase followed by a sustained decrease in the amplitude of cholinergic contractions. The cholinergic potentiation was antagonized by phenytoin (3 microM), which also prevented the increase in twitch height caused by veratridine (30 nM). The late inhibitory effect of tetramethrin probably involved a direct action on the musculature since contractile responses to applied acetylcholine (100 nM) or histamine (300 nM) were also depressed by this compound. Cypermethrin (1-100 microM), a Type II pyrethroid, had only a minor enhancing effect on electrically evoked contractions. Cypermethrin (30, 60 microM), but not tetramethrin, antagonized the cholinergic response induced by the GABA-A receptor agonist 3-aminopropane sulphonic acid (1-100 microM). These results suggest that neural Na+ channels activation may underlie pyrethroid-induced potentiation of enteric cholinergic transmission. In small intestine, however, cypermethrin is also effective as a noncompetitive antagonist of GABA-A receptor mediated cholinergic contractions.

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