Last updated: March 24, 2019
Topic: AnimalsBirds
Sample donated:

OP compounds exert their toxicity by suppressing the enzyme Acetylcholinesterase ( AChE ) that is responsible for the metamorphosis of the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine ( ACh ) . The toxic symptoms of organophosphate toxic condition ( OPP ) include muscarinic, nicotinic and cardinal nervous system ( CNS ) effects. OP toxicity produces a wide scope of well-characterized symptoms in cardinal and peripheral nervous system, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, immune system, generative system, hormone system etc.

Treatment of poisoned patients involves the disposal of relevant counterpoisons every bit good as several decontamination processs to guarantee secondary taints.

The widespread usage of OP pesticides is enhanced by their good effects, on the other manus consequences in wellness jeopardies in worlds every bit good as toxicity in aquatic and tellurian life which has become a planetary job today.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now


The development and the usage of OP compounds were greater than of all time before by the bend of the twenty-first century, a tendency most likely to go on due to the scientific finds of new applications for those compounds. OPs are a group of compounds considered as inhibitors of AChE, the enzyme responsible for the expiration of neurotransmitter ACh. OP compounds with strong AChE inhibiting potency are used as poisons while those with weak potency are used as contraceptive agents against nervus agent poisoning or as curative agents in glaucoma, myasthenia gravis and Alzheimer ‘s disease ( 1 ) . In add-on, several other OPs are employed as fire retardents and there are many cases where OPs have been misused in knowing and malicious toxic conditions. Currently these AChE inhibiting OP compounds constitute the most widely used category of pesticides in industrialized every bit good as developing states.

History of Organophosphate compounds.

The earliest documented grounds sing synthesis of OP compounds is the papers presented to Gallic Academy of Sciences by Phillipe de Clermont in 1854 explainig the synthesis of tetraethyl pyrophosphate. Lange and Kruger in 1932 synthesized dimethyl and diethyl phosphorofluoridates whose bluess caused duskiness of vision and choking esthesis. Gerhard Schrader, a German chemist involved in insect powder development synthesized his first insecticide known as parathion, which is still used worldwide. Prior to World War II, Ministry of Defense of Germany produced chemical warfare agents incorporating OPs which were subjected to a enormous development to be used as nervus gases. In 1950s, United Kingdom and Soviet military produced extremely powerful, supertoxic nervus agents with proved success in wars ( e.g. Sarin used in Iraq against Kurdish small towns and in Japan in Tokyo metro onslaughts ) and by dictators and terrorists ( 1 ) .

After the World War II, Numberss of OP derived functions were synthesized with species selectivity and less toxicity that could be used as insecticides/pesticides more safely. Malathion has been synthesized in 1950s, one of the most popular insect powders particularly against mosquitoes and Mediterranean fruit flies for more than 50 old ages and considered as one of the safest. Although OP insect powders are decidedly less toxic than the nervus agents/gases, clinically both resemble the same unwellness.

In add-on to cases where basically the intent was to kill e.g. war and terrorist act, every clip an OP was used, associated people every bit good as animate beings obviously develop marks and symptoms of toxicity. The cognition of autonomic pharmacological medicine, particularly the cholinergic system enabled to understand their mechanism of toxicity. In the early 1950s, several nucleophilic agents were developed such as hydroxylamine, hydroxamic acid and oximes, later taking to counterpoisons for reactivation of inhibited AChE against OPs. For illustration, Pralidoxime proved a 1 million times greater authority than hydroxylamine in reactivation AChE, likely because it was developed with the thorough apprehension of the chemical science of ACh, AChE and OPs ( 2 ) .

Since the early 1980s, OPs have been used for multi intents such as

Pesticides for harvest and grain protection, indoor and around houses

In veterinary against ectoparasiticides and endoparasiticides

In human medical specialty in handling neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer ‘s disease while some are prescribed in myasthenia gravis, glaucoma and as prophylaxis to battle awaited nervus agent toxic condition.

As a consequence of a big figure of researches carried out all over the universe for the development and alterations of OPs, this is one the most widely used categories of chemicals in the universe today.

Many OPs are highly toxic and bulk of them lack species selectivity and so, they invariably pose a menace to the environment, human and carnal wellness, aquatic systems and wild life because of their planetary usage.

Categorization of Organophosphate compounds.

The diverseness of organophosphate compounds is tremendous but different compounds have structural similarities within the categories. All OPs have a phosphoric ( P ) atom and a characteristic phosphoryl ( P=O ) or thiophosphoryl ( P=S ) bond. These are basically the esters of phosphorous acid with changing combinations of O, C, S or N attached. However, the complex chemical science and confounding categorization of OPs are originating due to different side ironss attached to the P atom and the place of fond regard.

There is no universally accepted categorization system for OPs yet. At least 13 types of OP compounds exist which are the derived functions of phosphoric, phosphonic or phosphinic acid. The derived functions of phosphoric and phosphonic acids possess anti-ChE activity. Phosphorothioates ( P=S ) possess minimum or no anti-ChE activity until they are desulfurated to the correspondent oxon. There exist some OP compounds that do non conform to the structural demands but still exhibit anti-ChE activity. Furthermore, non all the OPs exert anti-ChE activity and therefore they are of low toxicity ( e.g. merphos, glyphosate, glyphosinate ) ( 1 ) .

Organophosphate compounds are widely used as pesticides worldwide, of which the popularity may be partially due to the deficiency of residue continuity in the environment every bit good as in open persons and less opposition development in insects ( particularly compared to organochlorines ) . Because of their widespread handiness and utmost toxicity, OP pesticides are frequently encountered in accidental ( environmental or occupational ) and self-inflicted ( self-destruction ) toxic conditions in worlds ( and animate beings ) . Serious toxic conditions due to misapply of OP pesticides have been reported for more than five decennaries. Organophosphate warfare agents are known to be the most toxic out of all the compounds in this category of chemicals, whose unwritten lethal dosage for adult male is estimated to be in the mg scope or even less ( 3 ) . Despite the structural diverseness, the mechanisms by which these compounds elicit their toxicity are indistinguishable and are majorly, if non wholly associated with the suppression of ChE.

Organophosphate toxic condition ( OPP )

OPs acquire absorbed into the ( human ) organic structure through all possible paths ; tegument, unwritten mucose membranes, conjunctiva, GI piece of land and respiratory paths. OPs are by and large extremely lipid soluble. The oncoming, badness and continuance of toxic condition is determined by several factors including the grade and path of exposure, lipid solubility and rate of metamorphosis of the compound of involvement and whether metamorphosis in the liver is required before the compound is active. The oncoming of clinical effects may be from 5min-24 hour station exposure ( 3, 4 ) .

Inadvertent OPP is ensuing more often from their usage in agribusiness, normally by cuticular soaking up or by inhalatation during application or subsequent work in the field. Industrial toxic condition in the OP synthesizing workss were common in early phases of their development but it is by and large rare today as the fabrication procedures are being modified and are supervised by specializers. Even now, OPP is non rare in preparation workss where concentrated readyings are diluted with dissolvers, emulsifiers, dust etc and may affect several phases ensuing in greater exposure. The incidence of consumption in scientific and industrial research personals is frequently associated with new compounds of unknown toxicity. Poisoning in pilots who engaged in aerial applications of OPs has besides been reported where even a mild symptom would ensue in aircraft accidents e.g. blurred vision, and even a little accident could expose the pilot to a concentrated readying of OPs ( 3 ) .

Suicidal OPP is well high in developing states than in the West and appears to be increasing with the big handiness and socio-cultural factors. The incidence of calculated consumption of OPs appears to be higher in immature people and those with lower socio-economic position and normally lead to severe toxic condition and hapless results. This will put a heavy load on intensive attention resources particularly where those are scarce ( 5 ) .

Mechanisms of organophosphate toxicity.

1. Inhibition of AChE.

The primary mechanism of action of OPs is the irreversible suppression of AChE, an enzyme found in the CNS and the peripheral nervous system ( PNS ) whose map is to metabolise ACh, a neurotransmitter. OPs inactivate AChE by phosphorylating the serine hydroxyl group of its active site. In this phosphorylation, a new covalent bond is established between AChE and OP ( step 1 ) . This condensation reaction at the active site of AChE consequences in the formation of a trans intermediate composite ( a ) that partly hydrolyzes with the loss of a substituent group ( Z ) ( step 2 ) , ensuing in a stable, phosphorylated and mostly unreactive inhibited enzyme whose reactivation could be done at a really slow rate ( 1 ) . * The formation of irreversibly inhibited enzyme is seen with many OP pesticides. The nature of the substituent groups at X, Y and Z determines the specificity for the enzyme.

( a )



Novel OP insect powders have been introduced e.g. acephate, temephos, dichloryos which are less retentive inhibitors of ChE as they dissociate from the enzyme more readily and spontaneously ( 1, 2, 6-9 )

2.1.2. Pesticide-induced oxidative emphasis.

Harmonizing to Banergee et Al ( 1999 ) ( 10 ) free groups play a major function in the toxicity of OP pesticides and environmental chemicals. It is assumed that OP compounds bring on the oxidative emphasis by inordinate coevals of free groups including reactive O species and N species, changing the antioxidants and the scavenging system doing lipid peroxidation.

Several surveies have demonstrated oxidative emphasis induced by OPs in rats and worlds ( 10-14 ) . Lipid peroxidation is besides apparent in rat encephalons and human red blood cells ( 11-14 ) . OP-induced ictuss have been reported in association with oxidative emphasis. It has besides been shown that the ague cannular mortification that accompanies OP toxicity is related to reactive oxidative species and lipid peroxidation ( 15 ) .

Clinical facets of OP poisoning.

OP compounds exert their toxic effects by suppressing the synaptic enzyme AChE responsible for the metamorphosis of the neurotransmitter ChE ; accretion of ChE in the synaptic spread leads to cholinergic crisis. Since the cholinergic system is widely distributed within both CNS and PNS, chemicals that inhibit AChE are known to bring forth a wide scope of well-characterized symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of OPP include muscarinic, nicotinic and CNS effects, all of which can be attributed to the accretion of ACh in the synapse taking to nervous overstimulation ( 8 ) .

Muscarinic effects are manifested by hypersensitivity of the parasympathetic system including meiosis, bradycardia, inordinate salivation, lachrymation, micturition and laxation ( abbreviated by the acronym SLUD ) , hypersecretion in digestive and bronchial secretory organs and several other symptoms including sickness, lividness, abdominal spasms, purging and inordinate bronchoconstriction. Nicotinic effects include muscular fasciculation, cramping and failing, and in terrible poisoning muscular palsy. The badness of resulting muscarinic and nicotinic symptoms is dose dependent and can ensue in decease due to cardiovascular and respiratory prostration. CNS toxicity symptoms are critical including depression of respiration, ictus, unconsciousness, silliness, concern and eventually palsy of the respiratory Centre taking to decease of the animate being ( 7, 9, 16 ) . Patients are normally admitted with meiosis, fasciculations, pneumonic hydrops and foam at the oral cavity due to manifestations of above three types of cholinergic toxic condition.

Electrophysiological surveies in self-destructive patients with OPP have reported that patients frequently developed musculus failing of variable badness owing to depolarization block at nicotinic receptor. During such palsy, nerve conductivity speed and distal latencies were observed to be normal even in badly paralytic patients, but the amplitude of the compound action potency was tended to be lower in those more badly affected ( 17 ) .

Organ toxicity.

PNS and CNS effects and neurotoxicity.

Inhibition of AChE consequences in relentless activation of cholinergic receptors on postsynaptic cells taking to functional marks and symtopms of cholinergic toxicity. Many of the classical marks associated with OPP are peripheral in nature as described under muscarinic effects, a effect of the overstimulation of muscarinic receptors in the PNS. Other common marks include nicotinic effects ensuing from the overstimulation of nicotinic receptors in PNS. The most relevant consequence of OPP in PNS is OP induced delayed polyneuropathy ( OPIDN ) .

Inhibition of AChE by OPs elicit profound changes in CNS consequence in several terrible and deadly poisonings out of which respiratory depression found to be the most of import. Neurobehavioral changes are besides normally encountered as a effect. Although the toxic effects are normally elicited through AChE suppression, interactions of OPs with other supermolecules in the CNS have been shown to modify cholinergic toxicity or impact other signaling Cascadess.

Several pathophysiologic surveies have concluded that OPP in worlds green goodss three good defined neurologic paralytic syndromes ; Type I, Type II and Type III ( 17, 18 ) .

Type I: Acute peripheral and cardinal cholinergic block.

The acute syndrome involves paralysis secondary to relentless depolarisation at the neuromuscular junction ( NMJ ) due to the suppression of AChE by the OP and direct actions at the synapse affecting a assortment of chemosensitive receptor ion channels. Central and peripheral cholinergic effects at muscarinic receptors include bilateral pyramidic marks and damage of consciousness and meiosis. Type I symptoms are normally present on admittance and reacting quickly to atropine therapy. This initial life endangering stage frequently requires the intensive attention direction.

Type II: Intermediate syndrome.

This is caused by the surplus of ACh at nicotinic receptors and appears 12-72 hour after poisoning and lasts up to 4-18 yearss. Defects in neuromuscular transmittal and toxin-induced muscular instability are cardinal characteristics of Type II syndrome. Patients develop progressive and frequently terrible failings of which symptoms include cranial nervus paralysiss, proximal musculus failing and respiratory musculus failing therefore patients frequently require respiratory support. Intermediate syndrome can be farther complicated by infections and cardiac arrhythmias.

Type Three: OPIDN.

OPIDN occurs 1-3 hebdomads after exposure and is likely to go more frequent as a patient survived from terrible over dose of certain OPs. This is characterized by a distal devolution of long and large-diameter motor and centripetal axons of both peripheral nervousnesss and spinal cord where symptoms include distal musculus failing with comparative sparing of the cervix musculus, cranial nervousnesss, and proximal musculus groups. Neurophysiologic effects associated with chronic OP poisoning include impaired memory, confusion, crossness, lassitude and psychosis. Recovery from OPIDN can take up to 12 months. However, patients sometimes may non exhibit these good defined neurologic syndromes ( 2, 17, 18 ) .

Cardiovascular toxicity.

Cardiac complications are frequently seen in OPP which may be serious and frequently fatal. OPs cause histopathological alterations in cardiac tissue and, inordinate consumption can earnestly impact cardiac map. In terrible OP poisonings, the bosom goes into ventricular fibrillation ( VF ) . OP deposition in the bosom depends on dosage and path of disposal and spatially heterogenous. The harm to the tissue is focal, with pericapillary bleeding, micronecrosis, and patchy fibrosis taking to decreased conductivity and altered reploarization kineticss. However, comparatively small work has been done on the change of cardiac tissue by OPs and therefore the extent, frequence and pathogenesis of the cardiac toxicity from OPs have non been clearly defined.

Several research findings have reported myocardial mortification from OP poisoning such as ultrastructural morphological alterations including swollen signifiers and atomization or lysis of cristae. Surveies have revealed the formation of formless dense organic structures in chondriosome that assumed to be derived from local lipoids, disenabling the ATP production later taking to a black energy shortage. Lesions in the presence of OPs are chiefly seen in the left ventricular part, which is believed to happen due to the obstruction of several K channels.

Cardiac complications of OP poisoning are deadly but potentially preventable if recognized early and treated adequately ( 19, 20, 21 ) .

Respiratory and pneumonic toxicity.

The lungs are a major organ system of entry into the organic structure hence possibility of consumption of OPs via lungs is highly high. Respiratory and pneumonic toxicity frequently associates with direct inspiration and besides indirect effects are seen with all facets of respiration through systemic toxicity every bit good.

The lungs are one of the first variety meats affected following contact with aerosols and bluess of OPs. Lung toxicity by these compounds is due to parasympathetic muscarinic effects taking to increased glandular secernments throughout the respiratory piece of land and air sac, bronchoconstriction from contraction of airway smooth musculus, nicotinic effects on respiratory musculuss in the thorax and accessary musculuss of the cervix doing labored external respiration and finally flaccid palsy, and cardinal effects ensuing in a lessening in respiratory thrust.

Anyhow, the types of respiratory symptoms described by patients seem to be non consistent including coughing, wheezing, increased exertional dyspnoea, dyspnoea at remainder, inability to take a breath deeply, and a esthesis of force per unit area in the throat/chest. Rhinnorrhea is besides considered as portion of pneumonic toxicity which is shown to be followed by hyperaemia of the rhinal mucous membrane. There are no consistent forms observed in those symptoms ( 22, 23 ) .

Generative toxicity.

This is one of the major concerns of occupational wellness and safety in many industries where a batch of research workers have revealed androgenic every bit good as estrogenic effects of OPs. Both human wellness and ecological well-being are affected by OPs where generative piece of land malignant neoplastic diseases, reduced birthrate and unnatural sexual development would perchance ensue. Many OPs are thought to mime or otherwise interrupt the estrogen/androgen balance in the organic structure by adhering to the receptors of those endocrines during foetal and neonatal development and therefore are called ‘endocrine disruptors ‘ or ‘gender benders ‘ . Generative toxicity is expressed in footings of changes in sexual behaviour and public presentation, sterility and/or abortions. Exposure to chemicals may change male and female generative systems and adversely impact the oncoming of pubescence, gamete production and conveyance, normalcy of the generative rhythm, sexual behaviour or alterations in other maps that depend on the unity of both male and female generative systems ( 24 ) .

Placental toxicity.

Even though really small direct information is available on OP toxicity in placenta, surveies on OP disposal during gestation done on experimental animate beings have shown foetal results and sometimes residues of OPs in foetal tissues. The involvement in researching placental toxicity is enhanced by the fact that placenta is simply an entry but non a barrier hence if female parent ingests an OP ( or any AChE inhibitor ) by chance or intentionally, there is a high grade of foetal exposure to those chemicals. Physicochemical belongingss of the poison and type of the placenta are two cardinal factors involved in transplacental transportation of toxicants/OPs. Because of the relatively low molecular weight, OPs are non restricted from making the foetus. Chemical belongingss such as lipophilicity, mutual opposition and grade of ionisation besides may impact the rate of placental transportation. In higher animate beings, complex and multilayered placenta normally makes it more hard for OPs and other poisons to derive entree to the foetus compared to simpler choriovitelline or chorioallantoic type placenta. Several other factors including maternal-fetal chemical gradient, uterine and umbilical blood flow and protein binding may impact the rate every bit good as the extent of transplacental transportation and maternal-fetal equilibrium of an OP.

In general, clarifying the function of the placenta in lending to developmental effects and fetotoxicity is well of import. Although there are immense spreads in the bing cognition of the placenta and pesticides, a assortment of tools are available to obtain utile information for measuring the hazard of pesticides to the placenta and developing foetus ( 25, 26 ) .


A figure of surveies suggest that OPs/antiAChE chemicals are immunotoxic. However, due to assorted compounds analyzed harmonizing to assorted proving protocols that have given variable consequences even with the same compound, comparing of informations is hard. Anyway, overall rating of available information shows that both suppression and sweetening of unsusceptibility are mediated by OPs. Although immunotoxic effects exist, since they are observed at systemically toxic doses, their relevancy to environmental exposure of OPs is rather less. Systemic toxicity would probably to change the immune maps as a consequence of general emphasis ( 27, 28 ) .

Diagnosis and intervention.

OPs exert their toxic effects by suppressing AChE and subsequent accretion of ACh in blood enabling blood ACh measurings to be used as an index of OPP. However, serum ACh degree has ne’er been validated and a connexion between serum ACh activity and the badness of OPP has non been good established ( 7 ) . Novel analytical methods including immunochemical assaies ( particularly ELISA ) , extraction followed by gas chromatography incorporate mass spectroscopy ( GC/MS ) are employed to measure up and quantify OP poisoning.

The find of the nature of the biochemical lesion in OPP has permitted drug design to mend the peculiar lesion. OPs are lethal as they inactivate AChEs by phosphorylation of the enzyme ‘s active Centre. Based on that, two rational lines of interventions were proposed.

To happen some compound that could be phosphorylated every bit quickly as the enzyme and which if introduced into the organic structure, would protect the enzyme from suppression by viing with it for the OP or

To happen a compound which would reconstruct the activity of the inhibited enzyme by dephosphorylating it.

In both instances basically the same type of compound is needed treating a high intrinsic responsiveness with OP compound with the inhibitor itself or the phosphorylated enzyme. Several compounds have been identified with either or both of these belongingss out of which pyridine-2-aldoxime methiodide ( PAM ) and its corresponding methanesulphonate ( P2S ) introduced in 1950s are among the most successful in reactivating and handling poisoned topics by far. The muscarinic adversary atropine is used in high doses, Valium is used for commanding musculus vellication and paroxysms whereas the counterpoison pralidoxime Acts of the Apostless by dividing the OP-AChE bond and renewing acive AChE ( 2, 8, 9 ) .

Decontamination is one of the most of import processs to follow after an OPP is identified. OPP is internal until the patient vomited and from so on can be regarded as a chemical spill. With that apprehension, this could hold been anticipated to forestall farther cuticular and/or inspiration contact. Furthermore, remotion of apparels, thorough lavation of patient ‘s tegument with soap incorporating 30 % ethyl alcohol ( high pH hydrolyzes OP in aqueous solutions ) and plentifulness of warm H2O, isolation of the airing system of the unit from that of the chief infirmary if possible are recommended in patient direction to forestall farther patient taint and secondary taint of staff. Once effectual dermal and intestine decontaminations are achieved and equal airing has been established, the patient is considered safe from doing secondary taint ( 29 ) .

Effectss on aquatic and tellurian life.

Among the planetary jobs arisen due to the extended usage of OP compounds ( chiefly as pesticides ) , taint of aquatic environment is really of import. The possible paths of taint include surface overflow and sediment conveyance from treated dirt, industrial wastewaters, direct application to command plagues populating H2O, spray impetus from normal agricultural operations and municipal waste discharge. Pesticides in general are toxic to many non-target beings hence cause ecological instability by indiscriminate violent death of fish, aquatic insects, molluscs, worms etc. The distribution of pesticides in H2O influences biological uptake therefore will take to accumulation in assorted degrees in nutrient ironss.

Toxicity of OPs has been observed in tellurian craniates and some birds in US ( 30 ) , and farther findings revealed that most of such incidents are effects of pesticide abuse. Research findings indicate an suppression of ruddy blood cell AChE with dimethoxy substituted compounds.


Use of OPs chiefly as pesticides has become indispensable due to good effects they have on agribusiness but at the same clip has given rise to assorted wellness jeopardies in worlds every bit good as in animate beings from inadvertent or knowing consumption.

“ All pesticides possess an built-in grade of toxicity to some life being ; otherwise they would be of no practical usage and there ‘s no such thing as a wholly safe pesticide ” – paradox of pesticides by Ecobichon ( 31 ) .