Evaluation of medical countermeasures against organophosphorus compounds: the value of experimental data and computer simulations

Franz Worek, Nadine Aurbek, Nadja M Herkert, Harald John, Michael Eddleston, Peter Eyer, Horst Thiermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Despite extensive research for more than six decades on medical countermeasures against poisoning by organophosphorus compounds (OP) the treatment options are meagre. The presently established acetylcholinesterase (AChE) reactivators (oximes), e.g. obidoxime and pralidoxime, are insufficient against a number of nerve agents and there is ongoing debate on the benefit of oxime treatment in human OP pesticide poisoning. Up to now, the therapeutic efficacy of oximes was mostly evaluated in animal models but substantial species differences prevent direct extrapolation of animal data to humans. Hence, it was considered essential to establish relevant experimental in vitro models for the investigation of oximes as antidotes and to develop computer models for the simulation of oxime efficacy in different scenarios of OP poisoning. Kinetic studies on the various interactions between erythrocyte AChE from various species, structurally different OP and different oximes provided a basis for the initial assessment of the ability of oximes to reactivate inhibited AChE. In the present study, in vitro enzyme-kinetic and pharmacokinetic data from a minipig model of dimethoate poisoning and oxime treatment were used to calculate dynamic changes of AChE activities. It could be shown that there is a close agreement between calculated and in vivo AChE activities. Moreover, computer simulations provided insight into the potential and limitations of oxime treatment. In the end, such data may be a versatile tool for the ongoing discussion of the pros and cons of oxime treatment in human OP pesticide poisoning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-64
Number of pages6
JournalChemico-Biological Interactions: A journal of molecular, cellular and biochemical toxicology
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2010

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Animal Experimentation
  • Animals
  • Antidotes
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Cholinesterase Reactivators
  • Computer Simulation
  • Dimethoate
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Organophosphate Poisoning
  • Organophosphorus Compounds
  • Pesticides
  • Pralidoxime Compounds


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