Proceedings of the Zoological Society

, Volume 72, Issue 1, pp 13–24 | Cite as

Modulation of Immune Response by Organophosphate Pesticides: Mammals as Potential Model

  • Anindita MitraEmail author
  • Mainak Sarkar
  • Chandranath Chatterjee
Review Article


Organophosphates (OPs) are most widely used pesticides and primarily induce toxicity by inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) in the nerve terminals of central and peripheral nervous system, leading to a variety of short-term and chronic effects in the non-target animals. In addition to acetylcholinesterase, OPs are known to potent inhibitors of serine hydrolases which are vital component of the immune system and therefore influence the immune functions. OPs induce several immunomodulatory effects in vertebrates by altering neutrophil function, macrophage production, antibody production, immunosuppression, reduced interleukin production and T cell proliferation. Immunotoxicity due to OP exposure is mediated through perturbation of the cholinergic response of lymphocytes, altering signal transduction, mutilating granule exocytosis pathway and impairing FasL/Fas pathway of natural killer cell and other immune related cells. Apoptosis of lymphocytes or immune related cells is promoted through mitochondrial pore formation and DNA fragmentation. In this review an attempt has been made to document the immunomodulatory effects of organophosphate pesticides using mammals as potential model with an additional information on the probable mechanism of immunotoxicity induced by OPs.


Organophosphate Mammals Immunotoxicity Mechanism of immunotoxicity 



Authors wish to convey sincere thanks to Principal, Bankura Christian College for his support. Mr. Arup Ruidas is thankfully acknowledged for the illustrations in the review.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this paper.


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© Zoological Society, Kolkata, India 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ZoologyBankura Christian CollegeBankuraIndia

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