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Journal Article


Amend N, Thiermann H, Worek F, Wille T. Toxicol. Lett. 2019; 308: 1-6.


Bundeswehr Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Neuherbergstr. 11, 80937 Munich, Germany. Electronic address:


(Copyright © 2019, Elsevier Publishing)






The global use of organophosphorus compounds (OP) for pest control and nerve agents being used in military conflicts and for assassinations renders intoxications by these agents a public health concern. OP-poisoned patients often suffer from dysrhythmias which may ultimately result in death. In this study, human-induced pluripotent stem cells derived cardiomyocytes were exposed to OP compounds in a microelectrode array system (MEA). The MEA system is widely accepted to assess the proarrhythmic properties of (candidate) drugs. The directly acting cholinergic compounds acetylcholine and carbachol and the irreversible acetylcholinesterase inhibitor cyclosarin - a highly toxic nerve agent - were assessed. All three compounds induced a dose-dependent (up to 600 nmol/L) corrected field potential duration (FPDc) prolongation of 9.7 ± 0.6% for carbachol, for 9.7 ± 1.2% acetylcholine and 9.4 ± 0.5% for cyclosarin. Additionally, the electrophysiological alterations of the clinically approved oxime reactivators obidoxime, pralidoxime and the oximes in development HI-6 and MMB-4 were investigated in the absence of OP. Neither of these oximes (up to a concentration of 300 µmol/L) caused dysrhythmia nor beat arrest. The competitive muscarinic receptor antagonist atropine as a cornerstone in the treatment of OP poisoning was also analyzed. Interestingly, atropine caused a drop in the beat rate which might result from a non-receptor action of this substance in the absence of OP. Atropine in combination with the OP nerve agent cyclosarin and the direct cholinergics acetylcholine or carabachol completely reversed the induced FPDc prolongation. However, the oxime HI-6 as potent reactivator of cyclosarin-inhibited AChE was not able to prevent the FPDc prolongation in this model. In conclusion, the current model allows the assessment of FPDc prolongation by the nerve agent cyclosarin, the cholinergic compounds carbachol, acetylcholine and the block of this effect by atropine.

Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier B.V.

Language: en


arrhythmia; cardiomyocyte; human induced pluripotent stem cells; microelectrode array; nerve agent; organophosphate


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