NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
Neurotoxic esterase: not so toxic?
Nat Genet 2003 Apr; 33(4):437-438
Although of recent concern because of their use as chemical warfare agents, organophosphates have long been used as pesticides. As a class of compounds, organophosphate esters are widely recognized for their potential to inhibit serine-containing esterases owing to phosphorylation of serine residues at the active site of these enzymes, the most notable of which is acetylcholinesterase. Most features of the acute toxicity of these compounds (used as nerve gas or as pesticides) relate to their inhibition of this enzyme. A less well known feature of some organophosphates is their propensity to cause a delayed neuropathy that has been termed organophosphate-induced delayed neurotoxicity (OPIDN; ref. 1). OPIDN is a progressive neurological condition characterized by weakness, ataxia and subsequent paralysis of the limbsl.2. The major neuropathological hallmarks of OPIDN are degeneration of the long axons of the spinal cord and peripheral neurons, although assessments of neurotoxicity using sensitive stains for neurodegeneration show that selected regions of the brain are also involved3.
Neurotoxic-effects; Neurotoxicity; Neurotoxicology; Neurotoxins; Toxins; Toxic-effects; Chemical-warfare-agents; Organo-phosphorus-compounds; Pesticides; Esters
James P. O'Callaghan, Molecular Neurotoxicology Laboratory, Toxicology and Molecular Biology Branch, Health Effects Laboratory Division, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NIOSH, Morgantown, WV 26505, USA
Issue of Publication
Page last reviewed: March 11, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division