Open access
Research Article
1 September 2001

Developmental neurotoxicity of chlorpyrifos modeled in vitro: comparative effects of metabolites and other cholinesterase inhibitors on DNA synthesis in PC12 and C6 cells.

Publication: Environmental Health Perspectives
Volume 109, Issue 9
Pages 909 - 913


The widely used organophosphate pesticide chlorpyrifos is a suspected neuroteratogen. In the current study, we compared the effects of chlorpyrifos and its major metabolites in two in vitro models, neuronotypic PC12 cells and gliotypic C6 cells. Chlorpyrifos inhibited DNA synthesis in both cell lines but had a greater effect on gliotypic cells. Chlorpyrifos oxon, the active metabolite that inhibits cholinesterase, also decreased DNA synthesis in PC12 and C6 cells with a preferential effect on the latter. Trichloropyridinol, the major catabolic product of chlorpyrifos, had a much smaller, but nevertheless statistically significant, effect that was equivalent in both cell lines. Diazinon, another organophosphate pesticide, also inhibited DNA synthesis with preference toward C6 cells, but was less effective than was chlorpyrifos. Physostigmine, a non-organophosphate cholinesterase inhibitor, was less effective than either chlorpyrifos or diazinon, but still caused significant inhibition of DNA synthesis in C6 cells. We also found that the addition of sera protected the cells from the adverse effects of chlorpyrifos and that the effect could be reproduced by addition of albumin. These results indicate that chlorpyrifos and other organophosphates such as diazinon have immediate, direct effects on neural cell replication, preferentially for gliotypic cells. In light of the protective effect of serum proteins, the fact that the fetus and newborn possess lower concentrations of these proteins suggests that greater neurotoxic effects may occur at blood levels of chlorpyrifos that are nontoxic to adults.

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Information & Authors


Published In

Environmental Health Perspectives
Volume 109Issue 9September 2001
Pages: 909 - 913
PubMed: 11673119


Published online: 1 September 2001



D Qiao
Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.
F J Seidler
Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.
T A Slotkin
Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.

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