Protective effect of equine butyrylcholinesterase in inhalation intoxication of rats with sarin: determination of blood and brain cholinesterase activities

Lucie Sevelová, Jirí Bajgar, Ashima Saxena, Bhupendra P Doctor
Inhalation Toxicology 2004, 16 (8): 531-6
The effect of pretreatment with equine butyrylcholinesterase (EqBuChE) on cholinesterase inhibition in the blood and brain of rats following inhalation intoxication with low concentrations (1.25 microg/L for 60 min) of sarin were studied. Animals pretreated with different doses of equine butyrylcholinesterase showed significant increases in plasma butyrylcholinesterase activity. However, erythrocyte acetylcholinesterase activity was unchanged. The decrease in acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase activity after inhalation intoxication was dependent on the dose of equine butyrylcholinesterase used for pretreatment and was always greater for erythrocyte acetylcholinesterase. Acetylcholinesterase activity in different brain regions was unchanged following pretreatment with equine butyrylcholinesterase. After inhalation exposure to sarin, acetylcholinesterase activity was diminished markedly in the pontomedullar area (51.5% of normal activity) and frontal cortex (72.0% of normal activity), and slightly in basal ganglia (91.4% of normal activity). Plasma levels of sarin were determined using fluoride-induced reactivation of inhibited enzyme. As expected, the amounts of sarin in plasma were almost identical in rats pretreated with EqBuChE as well as in untreated rats. In pretreated animals, the plasma amount of sarin did not depend on the dose of equine butyrylcholinesterase used for pretreatment. Our results demonstrate that equine butyrylcholinesterase pretreatment can be considered as an effective prophylaxis against nerve agents (at least with sarin) and seems to be an alternative or superior to prophylaxis provided by reversible cholinesterase inhibitors.

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