Glutathione in Chlorpyrifos-and Chlorpyrifos-Oxon-Induced Toxicity: a Comparative Study Focused on Non-cholinergic Toxicity in HT22 Cells

Aline Aita Naime, Mark William Lopes, Dirleise Colle, Alcir Luiz Dafré, Cristina Suñol, João Batista Teixeira da Rocha, Michael Aschner, Rodrigo Bainy Leal, Marcelo Farina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Chlorpyrifos (CPF) is a neurotoxic organophosphorus (OP) insecticide widely used for agricultural purposes. CPF-mediated neurotoxicity is mainly associated with its anticholinesterase activity, which may lead to a cholinergic syndrome. CPF metabolism generates chlorpyrifos-oxon (CPF-O), which possesses higher anticholinesterase activity and, consequently, plays a major role in the cholinergic syndrome observed after CPF poisoning. Recent lines of evidence have also reported non-cholinergic endpoints of CPF- and CPF-O-induced neurotoxicities, but comparisons on the non-cholinergic toxic properties of CPF and CPF-O are lacking. In this study, we compared the non-cholinergic toxicities displayed by CPF and CPF-O in cultured neuronal cells, with a particular emphasis on their pro-oxidant properties. Using immortalized cells derived from mouse hippocampus (HT22 line, which does present detectable acetylcholinesterase activity), we observed that CPF-O was 5-fold more potent in decreasing cell viability compared with CPF. Atropine, a muscarinic acetylcholine receptor antagonist, protected against acetylcholine (ACh)-induced toxicity but failed to prevent the CPF- and CPF-O-induced cytotoxicities in HT22 cells. CPF or CPF-O exposures significantly decreased the levels of the antioxidant glutathione (GSH); this event preceded the significant decrease in cell viability. Pretreatment with N-acetylcysteine (NAC, a GSH precursor) protected against the cytotoxicity induced by both CPF and CPF-O. The present study indicates that GSH depletion is a non-cholinergic event involved in CPF and CPF-O toxicities. The study also shows that in addition of being a more potent AChE inhibitor, CPF-O is also a more potent pro-oxidant molecule when compared with CPF, highlighting the role of CPF metabolism (bioactivation to CPF-O) in the ensuing non-cholinergic toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-610
Number of pages8
JournalNeurotoxicity Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Chlorpyrifos
  • Chlorpyrifos-oxon
  • Glutathione
  • HT22 cells
  • N-acetylcysteine
  • Non-cholinergic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Toxicology


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