• paraoxon;
  • diabetes;
  • acetylcholinesterase;
  • hyperglycemia;
  • sub-lethal dose;
  • diabetogenic


There is an increasing belief that organophosphorus compounds (OPCs) impair glucose homeostasis and cause hyperglycemia and diabetes mellitus. The present study was undertaken to investigate the putative diabetogenic effect of sub-lethal and sub-chronic exposure to paraoxon (POX), an extremely hazardous OPC used in pesticides. The effect of paraoxon on streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats was also examined. Each rat was injected with 100 nmol of POX 5 days per week for 6 weeks. Blood glucose levels and red blood cell acetylcholinesterase activity were measured weekly. Biochemical analysis and morphological studies were performed at the end of the experiment. The results revealed that POX neither induces nor exacerbates diabetes mellitus in experimental rats. Liver and kidney/body weight ratios revealed statistically insignificant differences when compared with controls. Biochemical analysis of urine samples showed a small but not significant increase in protein level in all groups. Urine bilirubin was significantly higher in the diabetes + POX group when compared with the control group. The number of blood cells in urine was significantly higher in the POX-treated group compared with the control group. Hyperglycemia was noted in the diabetes and diabetes + POX groups, but neither in the saline control nor in POX-treated normal rats. Electron microscopy of POX-treated pancreas did not show any morphological changes in beta cells. These results suggest that POX does not cause diabetes mellitus at sub-lethal sub-chronic exposure. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.