Animal models of chronic pesticide neurotoxicity

  • Moser V
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There is a wealth of literature on neurotoxicological out-comes of acute and short-term exposure to pesticides in lab-oratory animals, but there are relatively few studies of -long-term exposure. Many reports in the literature describ-ing ‘chronic’ exposures to pesticides are, in fact, as short as five days and rarely longer than three months. Furthermore, routes of administration range from subcuta-neous to dietary. Doses used in many of the studies produce signs of acute or overt toxicity. In contrast, human symp-toms have been reported following exposures that are pro-longed and often without obvious toxic effects. A survey of the literature was conducted to identify rodent studies with neurobehavioral and neurophysiological endpoints of pes-ticide exposures lasting 30 days or longer. This survey indi-cated that the majority of studies concentrate on cholinesterase inhibitors (organophosphorus and carba-mate insecticides). Various neuromotor, cholinergic, physiological , affective and cognitive disorders were reported at doses producing cholinesterase inhibition; however, there were a fewer effects at non-inhibiting doses. Other classes of pesticides produced similar effects, with the exception of cholinergic signs. In many studies, the changes were subtle, which may correspond to the nonspe-cific changes in psychomotor and cognitive function report-ed in humans. It appears, then, that the data from animal and human pesticide exposures are generally comparable, but the specific outcomes are influenced by many experi-mental differences. Future research should concentrate on analogous exposures and outcomes to facilitate interpreta-tion.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Animal studies
  • Epidemiology
  • Neurotoxicology
  • Pesticides

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