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Brain Res. 1995 Apr 17;677(1):13-9.

Exposure to an organophosphate (DFP) during a defined period in neonatal life induces permanent changes in brain muscarinic receptors and behaviour in adult mice.

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Department of Environmental Toxicology, Uppsala University, Sweden.


The organophosphate Diisopropylfluorophosphate (DFP) is a well-known inhibitor of cholinesterases. We have recently observed that neonatal exposure to a single subsymptomal dose of DFP induces permanent alterations in muscarinic cholinergic receptors (MAChRs) and in spontaneous behaviour, in the mice as adults. In order to determine if there is a critical period for these effects, neonatal mice were given a single oral dose of 1.5 mg/kg DFP b.wt. on postnatal day 3, 10 or 19, causing equal inhibition of AChE. At the adult age of 4 months the mice were tested for spontaneous motor behaviour, and were subsequently sacrificed for measurement of density of MAChRs and subpopulations of MAChRs in the cerebral cortex by using the antagonist quinuclidinyl benzilate ([3H]QNB), and agonist carbachol, respectively. At adult age, mice exposed to DFP on postnatal day (PND) 3 or 10 showed significant (P < or = 0.01) alterations in spontaneous motor behaviour and a significant (P < or = 0.01) decrease in muscarinic receptor density. There were no alterations mice exposed on PND 19. The proportions and affinity-constants of high- and low-affinity MAChR binding sites were not affected in mice showing altered MAChR density. The lack of effect on mice exposed on PND 19 was not due to differences in AChE activity.

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