Neurotoxicity of pesticides: A brief review

Lucio G. Costa, Gennaro Giordano, Marina Guizzetti, Annabella Vitalone

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

162 Scopus citations

Abstract

Pesticides are substances widely used to control unwanted pests such as insects, weeds, fungi and rodents. Most pesticides are not highly selective, and are also toxic to nontarget species, including humans. A number of pesticides can cause neurotoxicity. Insecticides, which kill insects by targeting their nervous system, have neurotoxic effect in mammals as well. This family of chemicals comprises the organophosphates, the carbamates, the pyrethroids, the organochlorines, and other compounds. Insecticides interfere with chemical neurotransmission or ion channels, and usually cause reversible neurotoxic effects, that could nevertheless be lethal. Some herbicides and fungicides have also been shown to possess neurotoxic properties. The effects of pesticides on the nervous system may be involved in their acute toxicity, as in case of most insecticides, or may contribute to chronic neurodegenerative disorders, most notably Parkinson's disease. This brief review highlights some of the main neurotoxic pesticides, their effects, and mechanisms of action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1240-1249
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Bioscience
Volume13
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2 2008

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Keywords

  • Insecticides
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Organophosphates
  • Pesticides
  • Review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

Cite this

Costa, L. G., Giordano, G., Guizzetti, M., & Vitalone, A. (2008). Neurotoxicity of pesticides: A brief review. Frontiers in Bioscience, 13(4), 1240-1249. https://doi.org/10.2741/2758