Pathology of Experimental Nerve Agent Poisoning

  • Charles G. McLeodJr.
  • Henry G. Wall


Historically, organophosphorus toxicity has been most frequently associated with delayed peripheral neuropathies (Spencer, 1978; Lotti, 1984). Studies of accidental human exposures to these compounds and numerous animal experiments have shown that the symptomatic and morphologic effects of these toxic substances are related to distal disruptions of motor nerve tracts. The best described of these substances are triorthocresylphosphate (TOCP) and certain of the agricultural insecticides. More recently several investigators have defined an entirely different syndrome caused by two of the organophosphorus chemical warfare agents (Petras, 1981; Lemercier, 1983; McLeod, 1984; Samson, 1984; Martin, 1985; Singer, 1985; Singer, 1985). These highly toxic “nerve agents” are potent acetylcholinesterase inhibitors that have been found to induce severe brain pathology in several experimental animal models. The purpose of this review is to describe the light and electron microscopic pathological changes that are caused by these agents and to propose several possible etiologic mechanisms based on comparisons of observed lesions with other forms of central nervous system injury.


Brain Pathology Central Nervous System Injury Nerve Agent Army Medical Research Aberdeen Prove Ground 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles G. McLeodJr.
    • 1
  • Henry G. Wall
    • 1
  1. 1.U. S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical DefenseAberdeen Proving GroundUSA

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