Profenofos insecticide bioactivation in relation to antidote action and the stereospecificity of acetylcholinesterase inhibition, reactivation, and aging

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1984 Mar 30;73(1):16-22. doi: 10.1016/0041-008x(84)90047-4.


Poisoning signs in chicks administered the organophosphorus insecticide profenofos correlated with in vivo inhibition of brain acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity. Mixtures of atropine with eserine, pyridinium oximes, or the bispyridinium compound SAD-128 increased the LD50 of coadministered profenofos by up to sevenfold in chicks and fourfold in mice. Atropine and the oximes were less effective as profenofos antidotes, indicating that profenofos-inhibited AChE may undergo rapid aging. Brain AChE from chicks poisoned with profenofos was not reactivated by pralidoxime methanesulfonate, although it was from chicks poisoned with the phosphoramidothiolate, methamidophos. Similarly, eel AChE, inhibited in vitro by bioactivated (-)-profenofos, the most toxic isomer, did not reactivate in contrast to that inhibited by methamidophos, nonbioactivated (-)-profenofos, and (+)-profenofos, with or without bioactivation. It appears that the action of eserine and possibly SAD-128 was due to protecting AChE or cholinergic receptors from profenofos or bioactivated profenofos and that oximes may work in the same way rather than as reactivators due to rapid aging of the inhibited AChE.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Antidotes / pharmacology
  • Atropine / pharmacology
  • Brain / enzymology
  • Chickens
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / metabolism*
  • Cholinesterase Reactivators / pharmacology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Insecticides / metabolism
  • Insecticides / toxicity*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Organothiophosphates / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Organothiophosphates / metabolism
  • Organothiophosphates / toxicity*
  • Organothiophosphorus Compounds / toxicity*
  • Oximes / pharmacology
  • Stereoisomerism


  • Antidotes
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Cholinesterase Reactivators
  • Insecticides
  • Organothiophosphates
  • Organothiophosphorus Compounds
  • Oximes
  • Atropine
  • profenofos