The effects of desbromoleptophos, fenitrothion, and fenthion on brain acetylcholinesterase (AChE), brain neurotoxic esterase (NTE), and walking were investigated in immature chicks, below the age of organophosphorus ester-induced delayed neurotoxicity (OPIDN). Seventy-five milligrams per kilogram of the delayed neurotoxicant desbromoleptophos (DBL) and 100 mg/kg of the nonneurotoxicant fenithrothion (FTR) were given orally to 8-d-old chicks. Five milligrams per kilogram of the suspected neurotoxicant fenthion (FEN) was administered topically for 7 d, in 4 different age groups. Behavioral testing was performed for treated and control chicks on various days after treatment. Brain NTE and AChE assays were carried out for treated and control chicks on each day of behavioral testing. NTE and AChE inhibition were around 80 and 50%, respectively, 24 h after treatment, for the chicks treated with DBL. NTE returned to normal levels by 20 d and AChE by 6 d after treatment. FTR caused 56% AChE inhibition but not NTE inh ibition 24 h after treatment. NTE inhibition for the FEN-treated chicks never exceeded 25% during the whole period of the experiment, whereas 65 and 54% inhibition of AChE was seen in two age groups. DBL and FEN significantly altered the gait of treated chicks, but the non-OPIDN-inducing FTR did not. FEN-treated chicks developed an atypical ataxia at the normal age for onset of sensitivity to OPIDN. Minimal NTE inhibition, long latency for the development of ataxia, and immaturity of the chicks at treatment distinguish FEN-induced functional deficits from classical OPIDN.
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