Malathion is a widely used organophosphate pesticide that modulates immune function at noncholinergic doses. Previous studies showed that this alteration in immune function was the result of enhanced macrophage function. In the present study, the effects of low doses of purified malathion (as low as 0.25 mg/kg malathion) administered orally to mice enhanced the respiratory burst of peritoneal cells. Microscopic examination of the peritoneal cells showed that mast cells were degranulated within 4 hr after malathion administration. The amount of β-hexosaminidase, an enzyme released upon immunologic degranulation of mast cells, in the peritoneal lavage fluid of malathion-treated mice was also significantly elevated with 4 hours after malathion administration. Treatment of RBL-1, a rat basophilic cell line, cells with malation, parathion or paroxon in vitro also led to the release of β-hexosaminidase with paraoxon being the most potent. Further examination of the peritoneal cells of malathion-treated mice showed that the percentage of phagocytic peritoneal cells ingesting mast cell granules and the number of granules ingested per cell were elevated. These data suggest that malathion may enhance the respiratory burst of peritoneal cells through degranualtion of peritoneal mast cells and the subsequent exposure to peritoneal cells to mast cell mediators.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)