Carbamate nerve agent prophylatics exhibit distinct toxicological effects in the zebrafish embryo model

Fischer, A., Wolman, M., Granato, M., Parsons, M., McCallion, A.S., Proescher, J., English, E.
Neurotoxicology and teratology   50: 1-10 (Journal)
Registered Authors
Granato, Michael, McCallion, Andy, Parsons, Michael, Wolman, Marc
Acetylcholinesterase, Carbamate, Neostigmine Bromide, Nerve agent treatment, Physostigmine, Pyridostigmine Bromide
MeSH Terms
  • Animals
  • Carbamates/toxicity*
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors/toxicity*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian/drug effects
  • Neostigmine/toxicity
  • Nerve Agents/toxicity*
  • Neurogenesis/drug effects
  • Physostigmine/toxicity
  • Pyridostigmine Bromide/toxicity
  • Zebrafish/embryology*
  • Zebrafish/metabolism
25968237 Full text @ Neurotoxicol. Teratol.
Pyridostigmine bromide (PB) is an FDA-approved drug for the treatment of myasthenia gravis and a prophylactic pre-treatment for organophosphate nerve agent poisoning. Current methods for evaluating nerve agent treatments include enzymatic studies and mammalian models. Rapid whole animal screening tools for assessing the effects of nerve agent pre-treatment and post-exposure drugs represent an underdeveloped area of research. We used zebrafish as a model for acute and chronic developmental exposure to PB and two related carbamate acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors, neostigmine bromide (NB) and physostigmine (PS). Lethal doses and gross morphological phenotypes resulting from exposure to sub-lethal doses of these compounds were determined. Quantitative analysis of motility impairment and AChE enzyme inhibition were used to determine optimal dosing conditions for evaluation of the effects of carbamate exposures on neuronal development; ~50% impairment of response to startle stimuli and >50% inhibition of AChE activity was observed at 80mMPB, 20mM NB and 0.1mM PS. PB induced stunted somite length, but no other phenotypic effects were observed. In contrast, NB and PS induced more severe phenotypic morphological defects than PB as well as neurite outgrowth mislocalization. Additionally, NB induced mislocalization of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, resulting in impaired synapse formation. Taken together, these data suggest that altered patterns of neuronal connectivity contribute to the developmental neurotoxicity of carbamates and demonstrate the utility of the zebrafish model for distinguishing subtle structure-based differential effects of AChE inhibitors, which include nerve agents, pesticides and drugs.
Genes / Markers
Mutations / Transgenics
Human Disease / Model
Sequence Targeting Reagents
Engineered Foreign Genes