Prevention of pesticide-induced neuronal dysfunction and mortality with nucleophilic poly-Oxime topical gel

Sci Adv. 2018 Oct 17;4(10):eaau1780. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aau1780. eCollection 2018 Oct.


Organophosphate-based pesticides inhibit acetylcholinesterase (AChE), which plays a pivotal role in neuromuscular function. While spraying in the field, farmworkers get exposed to pesticides through the dermal route. Internalized pesticide inhibits AChE, which leads to neurotoxicity, cardiotoxicity, cognitive dysfunction, loss of endurance, and death in severe cases. Here, we present a nucleophilic pyridine-2-aldoxime-functionalized chitosan-based topical gel (poly-Oxime gel) that rapidly deactivates organophosphates, methyl parathion (MPT), on the skin of rats, which leads to reduced AChE inhibition in the blood and tissues. Testing the robustness of poly-Oxime gel, we report reduction in AChE inhibition following repeated dermal administration of MPT in the presence of poly-Oxime gel. Furthermore, poly-Oxime gel prevented MPT-induced neuromuscular dysfunction, loss of endurance, and locomotor coordination. We observe a 100% survival in rats following topical MPT administration in the presence of poly-Oxime gel. This prophylactic gel may therefore help farmworkers by limiting pesticide-induced toxicity and mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Animals
  • Insecticides / toxicity
  • Male
  • Methyl Parathion / toxicity*
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / etiology
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / mortality
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / prevention & control*
  • Organophosphate Poisoning / etiology
  • Organophosphate Poisoning / mortality
  • Organophosphate Poisoning / prevention & control*
  • Oximes / administration & dosage*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Survival Rate


  • Insecticides
  • Oximes
  • Methyl Parathion