Microbiota and organophosphates

Neurotoxicology. 2019 Dec;75:200-208. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2019.09.013. Epub 2019 Sep 24.


Organophosphates (OPs) are important toxic compounds commonly used for a variety of purposes in agriculture, industry and household settings. Consumption of these compounds affects several central nervous system functions. Some of the most recognised consequences of organophosphate pesticide exposure in humans include neonatal developmental abnormalities, endocrine disruption, neurodegeneration, neuroinflammation and cancer. In addition, neurobehavioral and emotional deficits following OP exposure have been reported. It would be of great value to discover a therapeutic strategy which produces a protective effect against these neurotoxic compounds. Moreover, a growing body of preclinical data suggests that the microbiota may affect metabolism and neurotoxic outcomes through exposure to OPs. The human gut is colonised by a broad variety of microorganisms. This huge number of bacteria and other microorganisms which survive by colonising the gastrointestinal tract is defined as "gut microbiota". The gut microbiome plays a profound role in metabolic processing, energy production, immune and cognitive development and homeostasis. The effects are not only localized in the gut, but also influence many other organs, such as the brain through the microbiome-gut-brain axis. Therefore, given the gut microbiota's key role in host homeostasis, this microbiota may be altered or modified temporarily by factors such as antibiotics, diet and toxins such as pesticides. The aim of this review is to examine scientific articles concerning the impact of microbiota in OP toxicity. Studies focussed on the possible contribution the microbiota has on variable host pharmacokinetic responses such as absorption and biotransformation of xenobiotics will be evaluated. Microbiome manipulation by antibiotic or probiotic administration and faecal transplantation are experimental approaches recently proposed as treatments for several diseases. Finally, microbiota manipulation as a possible therapeutic strategy in order to reduce OP toxicity will be discussed.

Keywords: Chlorpyrifos; Gastrointestinal microbiome; Microbiota; Organophospates; Probiotics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology
  • Humans
  • Organophosphate Poisoning / metabolism
  • Organophosphate Poisoning / microbiology*
  • Organophosphate Poisoning / prevention & control
  • Organophosphates / toxicity


  • Organophosphates