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An Investigation of the Neurotoxic Effects of Malathion, Chlorpyrifos, and Paraquat to Different Brain Regions

Elmorsy, Ekramy; Al-Ghafari, Ayat; Al Doghaither, Huda; Salama, Mohamed; Carter, Wayne G.


Ekramy Elmorsy

Ayat Al-Ghafari

Huda Al Doghaither

Mohamed Salama


Acute or chronic exposures to pesticides have been linked to neurotoxicity and the potential development of neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs). This study aimed to consider the neurotoxicity of three widely utilized pesticides: malathion, chlorpyrifos, and paraquat within the hippocampus (HC), corpus striatum (CS), cerebellum (CER), and cerebral cortex (CC). Neurotoxicity was evaluated at relatively low, medium, and high pesticide dosages. All pesticides inhibited acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and neuropathy target esterase (NTE) in each of the brain regions, but esterase inhibition was greatest in the HC and CS. Each of the pesticides also induced greater disruption to cellular bioenergetics within the HC and CS, and this was monitored via inhibition of mitochondrial complex enzymes I and II, reduced ATP levels, and increased lactate production. Similarly, the HC and CS were more vulnerable to redox stress, with greater inhibition of the antioxidant enzymes catalase and superoxide dismutase and increased lipid peroxidation. All pesticides induced the production of nuclear Nrf2 in a dose-dependent manner. Collectively, these results show that pesticides disrupt cellular bioenergetics and that the HC and CS are more susceptible to pesticide effects than the CER and CC.


Elmorsy, E., Al-Ghafari, A., Al Doghaither, H., Salama, M., & Carter, W. G. (2022). An Investigation of the Neurotoxic Effects of Malathion, Chlorpyrifos, and Paraquat to Different Brain Regions. Brain Sciences, 12(8), Article 975.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 21, 2022
Online Publication Date Jul 24, 2022
Publication Date Jul 24, 2022
Deposit Date Aug 1, 2022
Publicly Available Date Aug 1, 2022
Journal Brain Sciences
Electronic ISSN 2076-3425
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 8
Article Number 975
Keywords neuropathy target esterase, neurotoxicity, neurodegenerative diseases, chlorpyrifos, pesticides, acetylcholinesterase, malathion, redox stress, paraquat
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