The levels of resistance to two organophosphate acaricides, coumaphos and diazinon, in several Mexican strains of Boophilus microplus (Canestrini) were evaluated using the FAO larval packet test. Regression analysis of LC50 data revealed a significant cross-resistance pattern between those two acaricides. Metabolic mechanisms of resistance were investigated with synergist bioassays. Piperonyl butoxide (PBO) reduced coumaphos toxicity in susceptible strains, but synergized coumaphos toxicity in resistant strains. There was a significant correlation between PBO synergism ratios and the coumaphos resistance ratios. The results suggest that an enhanced cytochrome P450 monooxygenase (cytP450)-mediated detoxification mechanism may exist in the resistant strains, in addition to the cytP450-mediated metabolic pathway that activates coumaphos. PBO failed to synergize diazinon toxicity in resistant strains, suggesting the cytP450 involved in detoxification were specific. Triphenylphosphate (TPP) synergized toxicity of both acaricides in both susceptible and resistant strains, and there was no correlation between TPP synergism ratios and the LC50 estimates for either acaricide. Esterases may not play a major role in resistance to coumaphos and diazinon in those strains. Bioassays with diethyl maleate (DEM) revealed a significant correlation between DEM synergism ratios and LC50 estimates for diazinon, suggesting a possible role for glutathione S-transferases in diazinon detoxification. Resistance to coumaphos in the Mexican strains of B. microplus was likely to be conferred by both a cytP450-mediated detoxification mechanism described here and the mechanism of insensitive acetylcholinesterases reported elsewhere. The results of this study also underscore the potential risk of coumaphos resistance in B. microplus from Mexico to the U.S. cattle fever tick eradication program.
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