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Concept: Neurotoxicity


Recently, the widespread distribution of pesticides detected in the hive has raised serious concerns about pesticide exposure on honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) health. A larval rearing method was adapted to assess the chronic oral toxicity to honey bee larvae of the four most common pesticides detected in pollen and wax - fluvalinate, coumaphos, chlorothalonil, and chloropyrifos - tested alone and in all combinations. All pesticides at hive-residue levels triggered a significant increase in larval mortality compared to untreated larvae by over two fold, with a strong increase after 3 days of exposure. Among these four pesticides, honey bee larvae were most sensitive to chlorothalonil compared to adults. Synergistic toxicity was observed in the binary mixture of chlorothalonil with fluvalinate at the concentrations of 34 mg/L and 3 mg/L, respectively; whereas, when diluted by 10 fold, the interaction switched to antagonism. Chlorothalonil at 34 mg/L was also found to synergize the miticide coumaphos at 8 mg/L. The addition of coumaphos significantly reduced the toxicity of the fluvalinate and chlorothalonil mixture, the only significant non-additive effect in all tested ternary mixtures. We also tested the common ‘inert’ ingredient N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone at seven concentrations, and documented its high toxicity to larval bees. We have shown that chronic dietary exposure to a fungicide, pesticide mixtures, and a formulation solvent have the potential to impact honey bee populations, and warrants further investigation. We suggest that pesticide mixtures in pollen be evaluated by adding their toxicities together, until complete data on interactions can be accumulated.

Concepts: Stingless bee, Apidae, Beekeeping, Neurotoxicity, Pesticide, Honey bee, Bee, Insect


The quality of diets in rodent feeding trials is crucial. We describe the contamination with environmental pollutants of 13 laboratory rodent diets from 5 continents. Measurements were performed using accredited methodologies. All diets were contaminated with pesticides (1-6 out of 262 measured), heavy metals (2-3 out of 4, mostly lead and cadmium), PCDD/Fs (1-13 out of 17) and PCBs (5-15 out of 18). Out of 22 GMOs tested for, Roundup-tolerant GMOs were the most frequently detected, constituting up to 48% of the diet. The main pesticide detected was Roundup, with residues of glyphosate and AMPA in 9 of the 13 diets, up to 370 ppb. The levels correlated with the amount of Roundup-tolerant GMOs. Toxic effects of these pollutants on liver, neurodevelopment, and reproduction are documented. The sum of the hazard quotients of the pollutants in the diets (an estimator of risk with a threshold of 1) varied from 15.8 to 40.5. Thus the chronic consumption of these diets can be considered at risk. Efforts toward safer diets will improve the reliability of toxicity tests in biomedical research and regulatory toxicology.

Concepts: Neurotoxicity, Environment, Heavy metal music, Pollution, Toxicity, Poison, Soil contamination, Toxicology


Despite the ever-increasing role of pesticides in modern agriculture, their deleterious effects are still underexplored. Here we examine the effect of A6, a pesticide derived from the naturally-occurring α-terthienyl, and structurally related to the endocrine disrupting pesticides anilinopyrimidines, on living zebrafish larvae. We show that both A6 and an anilinopyrimidine, cyprodinyl, decrease larval survival and affect central neurons at micromolar concentrations. Focusing on a superficial and easily observable sensory system, the lateral line system, we found that defects in axonal and sensory cell regeneration can be observed at much lower doses, in the nanomolar range. We also show that A6 accumulates preferentially in lateral line neurons and hair cells. We examined whether A6 affects the expression of putative target genes, and found that genes involved in apoptosis/cell proliferation are down-regulated, as well as genes reflecting estrogen receptor activation, consistent with previous reports that anilinopyrimidines act as endocrine disruptors. On the other hand, canonical targets of endocrine signaling are not affected, suggesting that the neurotoxic effect of A6 may be due to the binding of this compound to a recently identified, neuron-specific estrogen receptor.

Concepts: Endocrine system, Neurotoxicity, Endocrinology, Sense, Endocrine disruptor, Pesticide, Effect, Affect


A systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies on developmental fluoride neurotoxicity support the hypothesis that exposure to elevated concentrations of fluoride in water is neurotoxic during development.

Concepts: Developmental biology, Neurotoxicity, Educational psychology, Developmental psychology, Cognition


Cefepime is a widely used antibiotic with neurotoxicity attributed to its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and exhibit concentration-dependent ϒ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) antagonism. Neurotoxic symptoms include depressed consciousness, encephalopathy, aphasia, myoclonus, seizures, and coma. Data suggest that up to 15% of ICU patients treated with cefepime may experience these adverse effects. Risk factors include renal dysfunction, excessive dosing, preexisting brain injury, and elevated serum cefepime concentrations. We aimed to characterize the clinical course of cefepime neurotoxicity and response to interventions.

Concepts: Brain death, Electroencephalography, Stroke, Medicine, Brain tumor, Neurotoxicity, Traumatic brain injury, Neurology


Exposure to the commonly used dithiocarbamate (DTC) pesticide ziram is associated with an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (PD), although the mechanisms of toxicity are not completely understood. In this study, we utilized zebrafish (ZF) embryos to study the mechanisms of ziram’s neurotoxicity in vivo. Nanomolar concentrations of ziram caused selective loss of dopaminergic (DA) neurons and impaired swimming behavior. Since ziram increases α-synuclein (α-syn) concentrations in rat primary neuronal cultures, we investigated the effect of ziram on ZF γ-synuclein 1 (γ1). ZF express 3 synuclein isoforms and ZF γ1 appears to be a functional homologue of α-syn. We found that recombinant ZF γ1 formed fibrils in vitro and overexpression of ZF γ1 in ZF embryos led to the formation of neuronal aggregates and neurotoxicity similarly to α-syn. Importantly, knockdown of ZF γ1 with morpholinos or disruption of oligomers with the molecular tweezer CLR01 prevented ziram’s DA toxicity. These data demonstrate that ziram is selectively toxic to DA neurons in vivo and this toxicity is synuclein-dependent. These findings have important implications for understanding the mechanisms by which pesticides may cause PD.

Concepts: In vivo, Neurotransmitter, In vitro, Toxicity, Neurotoxicity, Parkinson's disease, Dopamine, Pesticide


To fabricate ultra-small algal chitosan nanoparticles (US CS NPs) for efficient delivery of bovine lactoferrin (bLf) to ocular tissues through topical administration to prevent carbendazim-induced toxicity.

Concepts: Toxicology, Neurotoxicity, Milk, Toxicity, Poison


Methamphetamine and mephedrone are designer drugs with high abuse liability and they share extensive similarities in their chemical structures and neuropharmacological effects. However, these drugs differ in one significant regard: methamphetamine elicits dopamine neurotoxicity and mephedrone does not. From a structural perspective, mephedrone has a β-keto group and a 4-methyl ring addition, both of which are lacking in methamphetamine. Our previous studies found that methcathinone, which contains only the β-keto substituent, is neurotoxic, while 4-methylmethamphetamine, which contains only the 4-methyl ring substituent, elicits minimal neurotoxicity. In the present study, it was hypothesized that the varying neurotoxic potential associated with these compounds is mediated by the drug-releasable pool of dopamine, which may be accessed by methamphetamine more readily than mephedrone, methcathinone, and 4-methylmethamphetamine. To test this hypothesis, L-DOPA and pargyline, compounds known to increase both the releasable pool of dopamine and methamphetamine neurotoxicity, were combined with mephedrone, 4-methylmethamphetamine and methcathinone. Methamphetamine was also tested because of its ability to increase releasable dopamine. All three regimens significantly enhanced striatal neurotoxicity and glial reactivity for 4-methylmethamphetamine. Methcathinone neurotoxicity and glial reactivity were enhanced only by L-DOPA. Mephedrone remained non-neurotoxic when combined with either L-DOPA or pargyline. Body temperature effects of each designer drug were not altered by the combined treatments. These results support the conclusion that the neurotoxicity of 4-methylmethamphetamine, methcathinone and methamphetamine may be differentially regulated by the drug-releasable pool of dopamine due to β-keto and 4-methyl substituents, but that mephedrone remains non-neurotoxic despite large increases in this pool of dopamine.

Concepts: Amphetamine, The Conclusion, Neurotoxicity, Drugs, Methcathinone, Methamphetamine, Designer drug, Mephedrone


Previous studies demonstrate that glyphosate exposure is associated with oxidative damage and neurotoxicity. Therefore, the mechanism of glyphosate-induced neurotoxic effects needs to be determined. The aim of this study was to investigate whether Roundup(®) (a glyphosate-based herbicide) leads to neurotoxicity in hippocampus of immature rats following acute (30min) and chronic (pregnancy and lactation) pesticide exposure. Maternal exposure to pesticide was undertaken by treating dams orally with 1% Roundup(®) (0.38% glyphosate) during pregnancy and lactation (till 15-day-old). Hippocampal slices from 15 day old rats were acutely exposed to Roundup(®) (0.00005 to 0.1%) during 30min and experiments were carried out to determine whether glyphosate affects (45)Ca(2+) influx and cell viability. Moreover, we investigated the pesticide effects on oxidative stress parameters, (14)C-α-methyl-amino-isobutyric acid ((14)C-MeAIB) accumulation, as well as glutamate uptake, release and metabolism. Results showed that acute exposure to Roundup(®) (30min) increases (45)Ca(2+) influx by activating NMDA receptors and voltage-dependent Ca(2+) channels, leading to oxidative stress and neural cell death. The mechanisms underlying Roundup(®)-induced neurotoxicity also involve the activation of CaMKII and ERK. Moreover, acute exposure to Roundup(®) increased (3)H-glutamate released into the synaptic cleft, decreased GSH content and increased the lipoperoxidation, characterizing excitotoxicity and oxidative damage. We also observed that both acute and chronic exposure to Roundup(®) decreased (3)H-glutamate uptake and metabolism, while induced (45)Ca(2+) uptake and (14)C-MeAIB accumulation in immature rat hippocampus. Taken together, these results demonstrated that Roundup(®) might lead to excessive extracellular glutamate levels and consequently to glutamate excitotoxicity and oxidative stress in rat hippocampus.

Concepts: Hippocampus, Oxidative stress, Oxidative phosphorylation, Pesticide, Toxicology, Excitotoxicity, Neurotoxicity, NMDA receptor


Risk factors for impairment in psychosexual development and satisfaction among adult survivors of childhood cancer are poorly understood. The authors compared psychosexual outcomes between survivors and healthy controls, and tested whether at-risk survivors can be identified by 1) treatment neurotoxicity or 2) diagnosis.

Concepts: Sigmund Freud, Neurotoxicity, Epidemiology, Psychosexual development, Developmental psychology