Neurotoxic effects of neonicotinoids on mammals: what is there beyond the activation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors?—A systematic review
UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER: http://hdl.handle.net/11093/2566
EDITED VERSION: https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/22/16/8413
DOCUMENT TYPE: article
Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticides that exert their effect through a specific action on neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). The success of these insecticides is due to this mechanism of action, since they act as potent agonists of insect nAChRs, presenting low affinity for vertebrate nAChRs, which reduces potential toxic risk and increases safety for non-target species. However, although neonicotinoids are considered safe, their presence in the environment could increase the risk of exposure and toxicity. On the other hand, although neonicotinoids have low affinity for mammalian nAChRs, the large quantity, variety, and ubiquity of these receptors, combined with its diversity of functions, raises the question of what effects these insecticides can produce in non-target species. In the present systematic review, we investigate the available evidence on the biochemical and behavioral effects of neonicotinoids on the mammalian nervous system. In general, exposure to neonicotinoids at an early age alters the correct neuronal development, with decreases in neurogenesis and alterations in migration, and induces neuroinflammation. In adulthood, neonicotinoids induce neurobehavioral toxicity, these effects being associated with their modulating action on nAChRs, with consequent neurochemical alterations. These alterations include decreased expression of nAChRs, modifications in acetylcholinesterase activity, and significant changes in the function of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system. All these effects can lead to the activation of a series of intracellular signaling pathways that generate oxidative stress, neuroinflammation and, finally, neuronal death. Neonicotinoid-induced changes in nAChR function could be responsible for most of the effects observed in the different studies.
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