Effects of exposure to malathion on blood glucose concentration: a meta-analysis

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2018 Feb;25(4):3233-3242. doi: 10.1007/s11356-017-0890-5. Epub 2017 Dec 12.


Exposure to malathion (an organophosphate pesticide widely used around the world) has been associated with alterations in blood glucose concentration in animal models. However, the results are inconsistent. The aim of this meta-analysis was to evaluate whether malathion exposure can disturb the concentrations of blood glucose in exposed rats. We performed a literature search of online databases including PubMed, EBSCO, and Google Scholar and reviewed original articles that analyzed the relation between malathion exposure and glucose levels in animal models. The selection of articles was based on inclusion and exclusion criteria. The database search identified thirty-five possible articles, but only eight fulfilled our inclusion criteria, and these studies were included in the meta-analysis. The effect of malathion on blood glucose concentration showed a non-monotonic dose-response curve. In addition, pooled analysis showed that blood glucose concentrations were 3.3-fold higher in exposed rats than in the control group (95% CI, 2-5; Z = 3.9; p < 0.0001) in a random-effect model. This result suggested that alteration of glucose homeostasis is a possible mechanism of toxicity associated with exposure to malathion.

Keywords: Animal models; Hyperglycemia; Malathion; Organophosphate pesticides.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects*
  • Databases, Bibliographic
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Insecticides / toxicity*
  • Malathion / toxicity*
  • Models, Animal
  • Rats


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insecticides
  • Malathion