BACKGROUND: The development of resistance to imidacloprid in eastern US populations of the Colorado potato beetle (CPB), Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say), threatens this critical use for neonicotinoid insecticides. Previous pharmacokinetic studies with resistant adult CPBs provided no explanation for the high resistance level (over 200-fold) to topically applied imidacloprid. The authors assessed the neural activity of imidacloprid by recording spontaneous activity from a motor nerve leaving the isolated central nervous system to compare the sensitivity of the latter to imidacloprid between susceptible and resistant CPBs.
RESULTS: On the isolated central nervous system, imidacloprid was initially neuroexcitatory, and neuroinhibitory at higher concentrations. The neuroexcitatory action of imidacloprid was blocked by coapplication of a specific nAChR antagonist, methyllycaconitine, indicating that it is a result of action on nAChRs. The sensitivity to the neuroexcitatory and inhibitory activities of imidacloprid varied independently among individuals in each population. The sensitivity of the central nervous system of resistant CPBs to excitation by imidacloprid did not differ from that of susceptible insects, but the sensitivity to inhibition by imidacloprid was reduced 52- to 58-fold, indicating a possible change in the sensitivity of at least one subgroup of nAChRs.
CONCLUSION: This study provides evidence that reduced nerve sensitivity to the blocking action of imidacloprid is associated with imidacloprid resistance in the CPB. Copyright © 2007 Society of Chemical Industry