Effects of a 14-day dietary exposure to an organophosphorus pesticide, acephate (acetylphosphoramidothioic acid O,S-dimethyl ester), were determined on cholinesterase activity in three regions (basal ganglia, hippocampus, and hypothalamus) of the white-throated sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis, brain. All three regions experienced depressed cholinesterase activity between 0.5-2 ppm acephate. The regions exhibited cholinesterase recovery at 2-16 ppm acephate; however, cholinesterase activity dropped and showed no recovery at higher dietary levels (>16 ppm acephate). Evidence indicates that the recovery is initiated by the magnitude of depression, not the duration. In general, as acephate concentration increased, differences in ChE activity among brain regions decreased. Three terms are introduced to describe ChE response to acephate exposure: (1) ChE resistance threshold, (2) ChE compensation threshold, and (3) ChE depression threshold. It is hypothesized that adverse effects to birds in the field may occur at pesticide exposure levels customarily considered negligible.
Additional publication details
Regional cholinesterase activity in white-throated sparrow brain is differentially affected by acephate (Orthene?)