When given to rats, O,O′-diethyl-O-[3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridyl]-phosphorothionate (chlorpyrifos), a common insecticide, causes an unusually lengthy dose-dependent fall in the activity of brain acetylcholinesterase (AChE; EC 18.104.22.168). To determine whether the slow recovery involves impaired AChE synthesis, experiments were designed to measure AChE activity, immunoreactive AChE protein (AChE-IR) and AChE mRNA. Male, Long-Evans rats, maintained at 350 ± 5 g, were dosed (s.c.) weekly for 4 weeks with 0, 15, 30, or 60 mg/kg chlorpyrifos in peanut oil. Brain tissue was harvested 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 weeks after treatment began. AChE activity was measured by Ellman assay, and AChE-IR was estimated by two-site ELISA using monoclonal antibodies to rat brain AChE. While AChE activity fell significantly at all times and doses, AChE-IR increased at 3 and 5 weeks in the two higher dosage groups. Larger increases of AChE-IR were observed after chlorpyrifos was administered for 4 weeks by the oral route. Northern blots quantified with reference to cyclophilin were consistent with stable levels of AChE mRNA. Overall, it appears that chronically reduced brain AChE activity after chlorpyrifos reflects sustained enzyme inhibition, not loss of enzyme protein or suppression of AChE message.
- acetylcholinesterase gene expression
- rat brain
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