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Arch Toxicol Suppl. 1986;9:154-8.

Interethnic differences in the detoxification of organophosphates: the human serum paraoxonase polymorphism.


Paraoxon, 0,0-diethyl-0-p-nitrophenylphosphate is the highly toxic metabolite of parathion. The activity of paraoxonase, the enzyme which hydrolyses paraoxon in human serum shows a genetically influenced polymorphism with strong interethnic differences. The serum paraoxonase genotype has a significant influence on the paraoxon clearance and consequently on the toxic action of paraoxon and some related organophosphates and definitively protects the serum cholinesterase. Persons with low paraoxonase activity seem to be more endangered when handling parathion and related insecticides. More than 50% of all Europeans can be included in this group. The distribution of paraoxonase activity in human serum will be shown for samples which were collected from all over the world. As one moves from Europe in the direction of Africa and Asia the percentage of the low activity group decreases and was not even demonstrable in some tribes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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