Some organophosphorus insecticides have been reported to interfere with reproduction and even cause the decline of small mammal populations. The effects of such anticholinesterases on plasma LH concentrations were examined in male mice (Peromyscus leucopus noveboracensis) intubated with water (OW) or acephate (50 and 100 mg/kg) and sacrificed after 4 h. Brain acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity was inhibited by 45 and 56%, and basal LH levels were reduced by 29 and 25% in mice receiving the 2 doses of acephate. Responsiveness to LHRH did not appear to be affected 4 h after intubation with 100 mg/kg acephate, as 5 ug/kg LHRH ip evoked a comparable rise in plasma LH after 30 min (2.4 and 3.6 fold) in OW-control and treated mice. Subchronic dietary exposure to 0, 25, 100, and 400 ppm acephate for 5 days resulted in a dose-dependent decline in brain AChE activity (23, 42, and 57%), but did not affect LH concentration or the weights of testes and seminal vesicles. These findings suggest that acute exposure to organophosphorus insecticides may impair reproductive function by altering LH secretion.
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