Although acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is the primary target of organophosphorus insecticides (OPs), increasing evidence regarding their secondary effects suggests that OPs disturb homeostasis of insects by generating free radical intermediates that trigger lipid peroxidation. We therefore investigated alterations in lipid peroxidation product, malondialdehyde (MDA) content, and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) activities, in conjunction with AChE activity as biochemical stress indicators in greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella (L.) larvae for OPs methyl parathion (MP) and ethyl parathion (EP). The effects of MP and EP were first investigated by rearing the young larvae on an artificial diet containing 0.01, 0.1, 1, 10, and 100 ppm of each insecticide. Second, the mature larvae were injected with 0.05, 0.5, 5, 50, and 500 ng of insecticides for determining the changes in biochemical stress responses. The diet with lowest level of MP significantly decreased the activities of all measured enzymes, whereas it increased MDA content. However ALT and AST were significantly higher in the larvae reared with the diet with high levels of MP than in control larvae. All tested levels of MP resulted in a decrease in AChE activity. The lowest level of EP in diet (0.01 ppm) significantly increased ALT activity, whereas it reduced that of AChE. This insecticide at 0.1 ppm resulted in reduced AST activity, but 1 ppm in diet elevated AST activity and MDA content. EP at 0.1 ppm and higher levels in the diet reduced ALT activity. All dietary EP levels significantly decreased AChE activity. ALT, AST, and AChE were lower in larvae fed with the diet containing 100 ppm ethyl parathion compared with larvae on control diet. MP at 50 ng per larva increased ALT and AST activities from 35.42 ± 0.74 and 26.34 ± 0.83 to 203.57 ± 1.09, and 122.90 ± 1.21 U/g, respectively, when the mature larvae were injected. All injected doses of EP dramatically reduced both ALT and AST activities, but only the lowest and highest levels of this insecticide decreased AChE activity. The lowest level of this insecticide also significantly increased MDA content in larvae. High levels of both insecticides increased MDA content. We observed a significant higher increase in MDA content in the larvae reared with 10 ppm EP (102.16 ± 1.57 nmol/g protein) than the control group (30.28 ± 1.42 nmol/g protein). These results suggest that OPs caused the metabolic and synaptic dysfunctions in greater wax moth and alter its biochemical physiology in response to oxidative stress.
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Vol. 98 • No. 2