The organophosphate paraoxon has no demonstrable effect on the murine immune system following subchronic low dose exposure

Maria J. Fernandez-Cabezudo, S. Azimullah, S. M. Nurulain, M. Mechkarska, D. E. Lorke, M. Y. Hasan, G. A. Petroianu, B. K. Al-Ramadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Paraoxon is the bioactive metabolite of the organophosphate pesticide parathion. Desulphuration of parathion by liver enzymes or sunlight results in the formation of paraoxon which inhibits acetylcholine esterase (AChE) activity. In the present study, we analyzed the effect of a 6-week, subchronic treatment with two different daily intraperitoneal doses (30 or 40 nmol) of paraoxon on the immune system of BALB/c mice. At a dose of 30 nmol/day, body weight of treated animals was unchanged compared to the controls. In contrast, the higher dose (40 nmol/day) induced a reduction in body growth, particularly in the first 3 weeks of treatment, peaking at week 2 when the saline group showed a 14.2-fold increase in body weight gain compared to paraoxon-treated animals. Moreover, mice treated with either dose of paraoxon had a >50% reduction in AChE activity during the first 3 weeks of treatment, but by the end of the treatment (week 6), AChE activity returned to normal. With regard to immunological parameters, there was no significant difference in either total spleen weight or in the ratios of various spleen cell populations between control and paraoxon-treated animals. Furthermore, no changes were observed in mitogen-induced cytokine secretion from splenocytes of paraoxon-treated mice. Finally, subchronic exposure to paraoxon did not alter mortality of mice exposed to a bacterial infection with Salmonella typhimurium. These data suggest that although subchronic exposure to paraoxon induced a transient inhibition in AChE activity, it had no demonstrable effect on the host immune systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)891-901
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Immunotoxicity
  • Organophosphate
  • Paraoxon
  • Subchronic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'The organophosphate paraoxon has no demonstrable effect on the murine immune system following subchronic low dose exposure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this