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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1996 Oct;140(2):364-9.

Eptastigmine-phosphotriesterase combination in DFP intoxication.

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Department of Physiology, University of Kuopio, Finland.


A novel therapy against organophosphate exposure, the combination of a carbamate eptastigmine and an organophosphate hydrolase (phosphotriesterase) was studied in mice against diisopropylfluorophosphate (DFP) (1.75 mg/kg) exposure. Mice received eptastigmine (0.9 mg/kg; iv) 10 min prior to the ip injection of DFP. Phosphotriesterase (83 U/g body weight) was injected iv 10 min after DFP. Eptastigmine (1.5 mg/kg; iv) inhibited the acetylcholinesterase activities in brain and erythrocytes for a longer time than physostigmine. Eptastigmine caused only minor changes in the behavior and activity of the animals, whereas physostigmine clearly reduced their activity for about 30 min. The eptastigmine pretreatment clearly supplemented the protective effect of phosphotriesterase against DFP: the plasma butyrylcholinesterase activity was doubled and the activity recovered faster than in animals treated with phosphotriesterase alone. In lung, butyrylcholinesterase activity was initially lower after eptastigmine-phosphotriesterase than phosphotriesterase treatment alone. However, the activity returned 24 hr later to normal in eptastigmine-phosphotriesterase-treated groups. With phosphotriesterase only, it recovered only to 75% of the control level. Presumably eptastigmine, by preventing the binding of DFP to cholinesterases, caused an elevation of free DFP levels in body fluids and promoted phosphotriesterase hydrolysis of DFP.

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