Neurotoxic and General Effects of Combined Subchronic Exposure of Rats to Insecticides and Heavy Metals


Three different insecticides: dimethoate, cypermethrin and amitraz were given, alone or combined with the heavy metals Pb, Hg and Cd, to male Wistar rats per os for 12 weeks from their 4th week of life. After the treatment period, the left hemisphere of the rats was exposed in urethane anaesthesia, and spontaneous and evoked cortical activity was recorded from the primary sensory areas. The effects of dimethoate on the spontaneous activity, and of dimethoate and amitraz on the evoked responses, were increased by the metal combination treatment, whereby the metals alone had no effect on the spontaneous and mild effect on the evoked activity. Finally, the animals were dissected, organ weights measured, and relative organ weights calculated. The weight gain of all treated groups was significantly retarded compared to the control. Several organ weights were also significantly reduced, mainly in groups receiving insecticide plus metal treatment. The toxic interactions observed in this work indicate that combined human exposure to environmental pesticide residues and heavy metals may have unexpectedly severe effects.


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Correspondence to Andrea Szabó.

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Lengyel, Z., Lukács, A., Szabó, A. et al. Neurotoxic and General Effects of Combined Subchronic Exposure of Rats to Insecticides and Heavy Metals. BIOLOGIA FUTURA 57, 423–432 (2006).

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  • heavy metal
  • insecticide
  • combination
  • neurotoxicity
  • rat