Development of a prolonged calcium plateau in hippocampal neurons in rats surviving status epilepticus induced by the organophosphate diisopropylfluorophosphate

Toxicol Sci. 2010 Aug;116(2):623-31. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfq157. Epub 2010 May 23.


Organophosphate (OP) compounds are among the most lethal chemical weapons ever developed and are irreversible inhibitors of acetylcholinesterase. Exposure to majority of OP produces status epilepticus (SE) and severe cholinergic symptoms that if left untreated are fatal. Survivors of OP intoxication often suffer from irreversible brain damage and chronic neurological disorders. Although pilocarpine has been used to model SE following OP exposure, there is a need to establish a SE model that uses an OP compound in order to realistically mimic both acute and long-term effects of nerve agent intoxication. Here we describe the development of a rat model of OP-induced SE using diisopropylfluorophosphate (DFP). The mortality, behavioral manifestations, and electroencephalogram (EEG) profile for DFP-induced SE (4 mg/kg, sc) were identical to those reported for nerve agents. However, significantly higher survival rates were achieved with an improved dose regimen of DFP and treatment with pralidoxime chloride (25 mg/kg, im), atropine (2 mg/kg, ip), and diazepam (5 mg/kg, ip) making this model ideal to study chronic effects of OP exposure. Further, DFP treatment produced N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-mediated significant elevation in hippocampal neuronal [Ca(2+)](i) that lasted for weeks after the initial SE. These results provided direct evidence that DFP-induced SE altered Ca(2+) dynamics that could underlie some of the long-term plasticity changes associated with OP toxicity. This model is ideally suited to test effective countermeasures for OP exposure and study molecular mechanisms underlying neurological disorders following OP intoxication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Dizocilpine Maleate / pharmacology
  • Electroencephalography / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / drug effects*
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Isoflurophate / toxicity*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Status Epilepticus / chemically induced*


  • Isoflurophate
  • Dizocilpine Maleate
  • Calcium