The effect of sublethal short-duration exposure of paraoxon on pregnancy and fetuses in mice

Syed M. Nurulain, Mohamed Shafiullah, Charu Sharma, Mahmoud A. Ali, Shreesh Ojha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A convincing number of epidemiological studies have reported on the exposure to and consequences of organophosphorus compounds (OPCs) in pregnant women. However, there is still a knowledge gap and paucity of systematic literature from animal studies. This study was undertaken with the hypothesis that short-duration sublethal exposure to OPCs can produce maternal and fetal lethal effects as chronic exposure. This study examineses the teratogenicity and embryotoxicity of paraoxon (POX) in mice at a dose that is non-lethal to non-pregnant mothers. Pregnant mice were injected intraperitoneally (i.p.) with paraoxon (50 nmol/mouse) on the 4th and 5th days of gestation, and the effect of the treatment was assessed on day 18 of gestation. This dose was fatal to pregnant mice in 21% of instances as compared to nonpregnant animals in which 0% mortality was detected, even after daily injection of a similar dose for five days. Significant inhibition of red blood cell acetylcholinesterase (RBC-AChE) was observed in pregnant mice as compared to non-pregnant ones; however, no apparent neuronal effect was detected. Of note were fetal weight decrement, pregnancy termination, intrauterine growth retardation and maternal death. We concluded that exposure to even a non-toxic dose might be critical for pregnant mothers, the pregnancy as well as fetuses. In addition, even exposure of short duration can be detrimental and capable of producing profound and fatal effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)861-867
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Biological Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Gestation day (GD)
  • Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)
  • Organophosphorous compound (OPC)
  • Paraoxon (POX)
  • RBC-AChE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of sublethal short-duration exposure of paraoxon on pregnancy and fetuses in mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this