Neuropathology of organophosphate-induced delayed neuropathy (OPIDN) in young chicks

Kathleen A. Funk, John D. Henderson, Chen Hsuan Liu, Robert J. Higgins, Barry W. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


To examine the phenomenon of apparent age resistance of young chicks to organophosphate-induced delayed neuropathy (OPIDN), groups of either 2- or 10-week-old chicks were exposed subcutaneously daily for 4 days to the neuropathic organophosphate (OP), di-isopropylfluorophosphate (DFP, 1 mg/kg), the non-neuropathic OP, paraoxon (PO, 0.25 mg/kg) or atropine (20 mg/kg). Subsequently, all birds were examined at post-exposure intervals (calculated from the last day of exposure) for up to 56 days for neurological deficits and morphological lesions in the central and peripheral nervous systems (CNS, PNS). Clinically, none of the birds in the 2-week-old groups, or in the 10-week-old PO or atropine exposed groups had neurological deficits. However, all birds in the 10-week-old DFP exposed group developed ataxia by 7 days post-exposure (DPE) and then progressive paralysis. Therefore, all birds in the 10-week-old groups were killed at 14 DPE. Pathologically, the 2-week-old DFP exposed chicks had increasingly severe lesions of Wallerian-like degeneration predominantly in the spinal cord from 7 DPE and subsequently. In the 10-week-old DFP exposed chicks, the degenerative lesions of OPIDN were first detected in the CNS at 3 DPE and then with equally increasing severity in the CNS and PNS up to 14 DPE. A higher incidence of neuronal necrosis and chromatolysis in ventral motor horn neurons of spinal cord grey matter and in dorsal root ganglia occurred in both the DFP exposed age groups compared with those lesions in other groups. These results demonstrate that after neuropathic DFP exposure, 2-week-old chicks develop pathological lesions in the spinal cord without neurological deficits. In both age groups, onset of degenerative lesions in the spinal cord preceeded those in the PNS. The claim of apparent age resistance of chicks to OPIDN needs to be re-evaluated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-316
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Toxicology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 1994


  • Atropine
  • Avian
  • Di-isopropylfluorophosphate (DFP)
  • Nervous system
  • Organophosphate-induced delayed neuropathy (OPIDN)
  • Paraoxon
  • Ultrastructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Neuropathology of organophosphate-induced delayed neuropathy (OPIDN) in young chicks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this