Objective: Chlorpyrifos (CPF) is a neurotoxic organophosphorus (OP) insecticide. Its mechanism of action includes oxidative stress, excitotoxicity, and inhibition of the acetylcholinesterase enzyme (AChE). The aim of the present study is to investigate CPF toxicity in mature and immature cerebellar granule neurons (CGNs), as well as its effect on glutamate induced excitotoxicity.
Materials and methods: This study was an in vitro experimental study performed on mice cultured CGNs. Immature and mature neurons were exposed to different concentrations of CPF (1-1000 µM) and glutamate (10-600 µM) for 48 hours after which we used the MTT assay to measure cytotoxicity. Immature neurons had exposure to CPF for 5 days in order to evaluate the cytotoxic effect on developing neurons. Mature neurons received sub-lethal concentrations of CPF (10, 100 µM) combined with different concentrations of glutamate. AChE activity and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation were assessed after treatments.
Results: Immature CGNs had increased sensitivity to CPF toxicity compared to mature neurons. We observed significantly greater ROS production in immature compared to mature neurons, however AChE activity was more inhibited in mature neurons. Although CPF toxicity was not well correlated with AChE inhibition, it correlated well with ROS production. Glutamate toxicity was potentiated by sub-lethal concentration of CPF, however glutamate induced ROS production was not affected. The results suggested that CPF potentiated glutamate toxicity by mechanisms other than oxidative stress.
Conclusion: CPF toxicity differed in mature and immature neurons. Potentiated glutamate toxicity by CPF implied that CPF exposure might be a risk factor for neurodegenerative disease.
Keywords: CGNs; Chlorpyrifos; Glutamate Toxicity; Neurotoxicity; Oxidative Stress.