Indexed on: 08 Mar '00Published on: 08 Mar '00Published in: Journal of toxicology and environmental health. Part A
Neuropathy target esterase (neurotoxic esterase, NTE), a protein thought to be involved in the production of organophosphorus compound-induced delayed neurotoxicity (OPIDN), has been postulated to be a component of endogenous neuronal protein phosphorylation systems. The purpose of this work was to test this hypothesis as well as to investigate further the role of endogenous protein phosphorylation in toxic neuropathies. White Leghorn hens were dosed with the neuropathic compounds di-1-butyl-2,2-dichlorovinyl phosphate (dibutyl dichlorvos, DBDCV), tri-o-cresyl phosphate (TOCP), or acrylamide, and regions from brain were fractionated into axolemmal, synaptosomal, and microsomal preparations. Radiolabeling of NTE or endogenously phosphorylated proteins was carried out by incubation with [14C]-DFP or gamma-[32P]-ATP, respectively. Radiolabeled proteins were separated by sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and visualized by autoradiography. Relative amounts of phosphoproteins were quantified by densitometry of the autoradiographs. Changes in endogenous phosphorylation of a protein exhibiting the characteristics of NTE were not observed in these experiments. However, levels of a [32P]-labeled 50-kDa brainstem axolemmal protein were decreased significantly on d 15, but not on d 1, 3, 7, or 10 after dosing with 2.8 mg/kg DBDCV. Clinical signs of ataxia and histopathological findings of axonal degeneration in the spinocerebellar tracts of the brainstem were evident on d 10-15, and hens were unable to perch on a horizontal wooden rod from d 12 after dosing with DBDCV. The decrease in the 50-kDa phosphoprotein was not observed on d 15 after the production of clinically evident neuropathy with either 14 daily doses of 50 mg/kg acrylamide or with a single dose of 500 mg/kg TOCP. These results suggest that NTE is not an endogenously phosphorylated protein under the conditions of these experiments. However, an effect on endogenous phosphorylation limited to a 50-kDa axolemmal protein was selectively produced by treatment with a neuropathic dose of DBDCV that was in evidence only after clinical signs and histopathological findings of axonopathy were apparent.