Development of multifunctional metabolic synergists to suppress the evolution of resistance against pyrethroids in insects that blood feed on humans




Pyrethroids are the insecticides of choice when exposure to humans is likely, such as occurs in vector and public-health-related control programs. Unfortunately, the pyrethroids share a common resistance mechanism with dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), knockdown resistance (kdr), and prior extensive use of DDT has predisposed the pyrethroids to cross-resistance via kdr. Given the widespread occurrence of kdr, the use of synergists with pyrethroids is considered to be prudent to guard against the selection of multiply resistant insects.


3-Phenoxybenzyl hexanoate (PBH) was synthesized as a multifunctional pyrethroid synergist that, besides being a surrogate substrate for sequestration/hydrolytic carboxylesterases, now also functions as a substrate for oxidative xenobiotic metabolism. The addition of PBH to permethrin-treated females of the ISOP450 strain of Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus resulted in a threefold increase in synergism, as judged by the synergistic ratio. Similarly, PBH synergized the action of deltamethrin sixfold on females of the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, and was 2.8-fold more synergistic than piperonyl butoxide (PBO).


PBH synergized the action of both type I and type II pyrethroids in a mosquito vector (Cx. p. quinquefasciatus) and in a public-health pest, C. lectularius, respectively, indicating a broad spectrum of action on blood-feeding insects. PBH appears to have residual properties similar to permethrin and is itself non-toxic, unlike PBO, and therefore should be compatible with existing pyrethroid formulations used for insecticide-treated nets and home/residential sprays. © 2014 Society of Chemical Industry