Additional image:: 

Epidemiological studies link organophosphorus pesticide (OP) exposures to asthma, and we have shown that the OPs chlorpyrifos, diazinon and parathion cause airway hyperreactivity in guinea pigs 24 hr after a single subcutaneous injection. OP-induced airway hyperreactivity involves M2 muscarinic receptor dysfunction on airway nerves independent of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibition, but how OPs inhibit neuronal M2 receptors in airways is not known. In the central nervous system, OPs interact directly with neurons to alter muscarinic receptor function or expression; therefore, in this study we tested whether the OP parathion or its oxon metabolite, paraoxon, might decrease M2 receptor function on peripheral neurons via similar direct mechanisms.