Various organophosphorus compounds with low acute toxicity levels are widely used as insecticides. Human acute poisoning by organophosphates has often occured accidentally. We determined the activity and isoenzyme patterns of serum cholinesterase (ChE) obtained from 13 human patients who attempted suicide with various organophosphates, i. e. Fenitrothion, Malathion, Isoxathion, Pyridaphenthion and Trichlorfon, and studied on the changes in the activity and isoenzyme patterns of serum ChE after ingestion. The following results were obtained.
1) Twenty ChE isoenzyme bands from normal human serum were detected by electrophoretic separation on polyacrylamide gradient gel. The main bands in the ChE isoenzyme pattern in normal serum were bands 4 and 5 which had the highest activity of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) with a molecular weight of 600, 000-800, 000, and bands 7, 12, 14, 17 and 18.
2) Inhibition of serum ChE activity was more severe as the amount ingested increased in patients who took Fenitrothion and Malathion. Reactivation of serum ChE activity was very slow in patients treated with PAM (2-pyridine aldoxime methiodide) in the late stage of ingestion or whose symptoms reappeared.
3) There were no differences in the patterns of serum ChE isoenzyme by organophosphorus compound. Band 7 disappeared in the serum ChE isoenzyme of almost every patient, and bands 12, 18, 14 and 17 of the serum ChE isoenzyme disappeared successively with the decline of serum ChE activity. Only band 5 of the isoenzyme remained in cases who had serum ChE activity lower than 5% of normal.
4) All 13 patients were treated with PAM and atropine immediately after being admitted to hospitals. We could not clearly determine the efficacy of PAM on reactivation of serum ChE activity and isoenzyme, because it was impossible in human poisoning to compare PAM efficacy with no treatment and with pre- and post- PAM treatment.
5) The activity and isoenzyme patterns of serum ChE recovered rapidly after combined hemoperfusion and hemodialysis treatment (HP-HD treatment) of the patients poisoned with Malathion. But HP-HD treatment had no effect on poisoning by Fenitrothion and Isoxathion.
These findings demonstrated the changes in the activity and isoenzyme pattern of serum ChE in patients poisoned with several organophosphates after PAM and HP-HD treatment.