Human & experimental toxicology

Biosensor assay of neuropathy target esterase in whole blood as a new approach to OPIDN risk assessment: review of progress.

PMID 17615108


Organophosphates (OPs) that inhibit neuropathy target esterase (NTE) with subsequent ageing can produce OP-induced delayed neuropathy (OPIDN). NTE inhibition in lymphocytes can be used as a biomarker of exposure to neuropathic OPs. An electrochemical method was developed to assay NTE in whole blood. The high sensitivity of the tyrosinase carbon-paste biosensors for the phenol produced by hydrolysis of the substrate, phenyl valerate, allowed NTE activity to be measured in diluted samples of whole blood, which cannot be done using the standard colorimetric assay. The biosensor was used to establish correlations of NTE inhibitions in blood with that in lymphocytes and brain after dosing hens with a neuropathic OP. The results of further studies demonstrated that whole blood NTE is a reliable biomarker of neuropathic OPs for up to 96 hours after exposure. These validation results suggest that the biosensor NTE assay for whole blood could be developed to measure human exposure to neuropathic OPs as a predictor of OPIDN. The small blood volume required (100 microL), simplicity of sample preparation and rapid analysis times indicate that the biosensor should be useful in biomonitoring and epidemiological studies. The present paper is an overview of our previous and ongoing work in this area.