Effects of acute exposure to chlorpyrifos on cholinergic and non-cholinergic targets in normal and high-fat fed male C57BL/6J mice

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2017 Dec 15;337:67-75. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2017.10.019. Epub 2017 Oct 31.


The prevalence of obesity is increasing at an alarming rate in the United States with 36.5% of adults being classified as obese. Compared to normal individuals, obese individuals have noted pathophysiological alterations which may alter the toxicokinetics of xenobiotics and therefore alter their toxicities. However, the effects of obesity on the toxicity of many widely utilized pesticides has not been established. Therefore, the present study was designed to determine if the obese phenotype altered the toxicity of the most widely used organophosphate (OP) insecticide, chlorpyrifos (CPS). Male C57BL/6J mice were fed normal or high-fat diet for 4weeks and administered a single dose of vehicle or CPS (2.0mg/kg; oral gavage) to assess cholinergic (acetylcholinesterase activities) and non-cholinergic (carboxylesterase and endocannabinoid hydrolysis) endpoints. Exposure to CPS significantly decreased red blood cell acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity, but not brain AChE activity, in both diet groups. Further, CPS exposure decreased hepatic carboxylesterase activity and hepatic hydrolysis of a major endocannabinoid, anandamide, in a diet-dependent manner with high-fat diet fed animals being more sensitive to CPS-mediated inhibition. These in vivo studies were corroborated by in vitro studies using rat primary hepatocytes, which demonstrated that fatty acid amide hydrolase and CES activities were more sensitive to CPS-mediated inhibition than 2-arachidonoylglycerol hydrolase activity. These data demonstrate hepatic CES and FAAH activities in high-fat diet fed mice were more potently inhibited than those in normal diet fed mice following CPS exposure, which suggests that the obese phenotype may exacerbate some of the non-cholinergic effects of CPS exposure.

Keywords: Acetylcholinesterase; Carboxylesterase; Chlorpyrifos; Endocannabinoid; High-fat diet; Organophosphate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / metabolism
  • Activation, Metabolic
  • Amidohydrolases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Arachidonic Acids / metabolism
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chlorpyrifos / metabolism
  • Chlorpyrifos / toxicity*
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / toxicity*
  • Diet, High-Fat*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Endocannabinoids / metabolism
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects*
  • Erythrocytes / enzymology
  • GPI-Linked Proteins / metabolism
  • Glycerides / metabolism
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects*
  • Hepatocytes / enzymology
  • Hydrolysis
  • Insecticides / metabolism
  • Insecticides / toxicity*
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Monoacylglycerol Lipases / metabolism
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / enzymology
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Phenotype
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides / metabolism
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Arachidonic Acids
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Endocannabinoids
  • GPI-Linked Proteins
  • Glycerides
  • Insecticides
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • glyceryl 2-arachidonate
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases
  • arylesterase
  • Monoacylglycerol Lipases
  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Ache protein, mouse
  • Amidohydrolases
  • fatty-acid amide hydrolase
  • Chlorpyrifos
  • anandamide