Reviews of environmental contamination and toxicology

Propoxur: a novel mechanism for insecticidal action and toxicity.

PMID 22488607


Propoxur is a carbamate insecticide that has recently attracted considerable attention as a possible treatment option for addressing the bedbug epidemic. The generally accepted mechanism of toxicity for propoxur involves the inhibition of ChE, as is the case for many agents in the category. Considerable research supports the concept that most physiologically active substances induce their effects through multi-faceted action. In this review, we provide evidence that ET--ROS--OS participate mechanistically in both the action and in human toxicity of pesticides, including propoxur. Propoxur is a catechol derivative that contains carbamate and isopropyl groups on the oxygens in its moiety. Metabolic studies with propoxur reveal hydrolysis of the carbamate and dealkylation of the isopropyl group to yield the parent catechol. In addition, nuclear hydroxylation produces a hydroquinone derivative. Both the catechol and this hydroquinone derivative are potentially able to undergo redox cycling with the corresponding quinone to produce ROS. It is primarily for these reasons that we believe propoxur may be similar to other classes of physiologically active compounds in producing effects through ET-ROS-OS. Generally, reactive ROS are generated by metabolic processes that yield ET entities, and this occurs with propoxur as well. Although ROS are commonly associated with toxicity, there is little recognition in the literature that they can also play a role in therapeutic action.

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Propoxur, PESTANAL®, analytical standard