Brain cholinesterase (ChE) activity has been used extensively to monitor exposure to organophosphorus (OP) and carbamate (CB) insecticides in wild birds. A series of factorial experiments was conducted to assess the extent to which noncontaminant-related environmental conditions might affect brain ChE activity and thereby confound the diagnosis of OP and CB intoxication. Underfeeding (restricting intake to 50% of control for 21 d or fasting for 1-3 d) or exposure to elevated temperature (36 + 1?C for 1 d) caused only slight reductions (10-17%) in brain AChE activity in adult male Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica). This degree of 'reduction' in brain AChE activity is considerably less than the 50% 'inhibition' criterion employed in the diagnosis of insecticide-induced mortality, but nevertheless approaches the 20% 'inhibition' level used as a conservative estimate of sublethal exposure to a known insecticide application.
Additional publication details
Diagnosis of anticholinesterase poisoning in birds: Effects of environmental temperature and underfeeding on cholinesterase activity