Cholinesterase activity in blood and pesticide presence in sweat as biomarkers of children`s environmental exposure to crop protection chemicals
More details
Hide details
Department of Molecular Biology and Translational Research, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Department of Medical Biology and Translational Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Information Technology and Management, Rzeszow, Poland
Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, Medical University, Lublin, Poland
Corresponding author
Lucyna Kapka-Skrzypczak   

Department of Molecular Biology and Translational Research, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2015;22(3):478-482
On the contrary to the adult population exposed to pesticides, mostly on occupational basis, rural children are mostly exposed to pesticides deposited in the environment. However, even this constant, distributed in time exposure to low concentrations of pesticides may led to permanent health disorders and limit children’s harmonious development.

The main objective of the study was to evaluate the usefulness of aacetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) activity determination as a marker of children’s environmental exposure to pesticides. An additional aim was to evaluate the usefulness of sweat patches as a novel, non-invasive method of detection of pesticides in sweat as a measure of pesticide exposure.

Material and Methods:
A total of 108 children living in areas of intense pesticide use, and as a control group, 92 children living in an agro-tourist area were enrolled in the study. The AChE and BuChE activity was assayed colorimetricaly in diluted whole blood or plasma, respectively. In addition, selected pesticides were measured by GC/MS analysis in samples of the subject’s sweat absorbed onto a sorbent.

The study demonstrated significantly lower AChE and BuChE activity, respectively, in the diluted whole blood and plasma of children exposed to pesticides, compared to the control group (p<0.001 and p=0.003, respectively). The measured mean level of AChE activity was 241.63 ± 26.76 and 348.0±46.95 mU/µmolHb in the exposed and the control group, respectively, whereas the mean activity of BuChE was 424.1±81.1 and 458.6 ± 86.5 mmol/L/min. In addition, pesticide metabolites were detected in 19 (17.6%) sweat samples collected from exposed children.

Altogether, the study indicated that cholinesterase activity is a sensitive marker of the children’s environmental exposure to pesticides, whereas sweat patches are useful devices for collecting samples to be analysed for the presence of the pesticides.

Dosemeci M, Alavanja MC, Rowland AS, Mage D, Zahm SH, Rothman N, et al. A quantitative approach for estimating exposure to pesticides in the Agricultural Health Study. Ann Occup Hyg. 2002; 46(2): 245–60.
Arcury TA, Grzywacz JG, Isom S, Whalley LE, Vallejos QM, Chen H, et al. Seasonal variation in the measurement of urinary pesticide metabolites among Latino farmworkers in eastern North Carolina. Int J Occup Environ Health. 2009; 15(4): 339–50.
Kapka L, Wdowiak L, Turski WA, Wdowiak A, Woźnica I. Pesticides as an environmental health risk factor in children living in agricultural areas. Med Środow. 2009; 12(2): 100–105.
Kapka-Skrzypczak L, Cyranka M, Skrzypczak M, Kruszewski M. Biomonitoring and biomarkers of organophosphate pesticides exposure – state of the art. Ann Agric Environ Med. 2011;18(2): 294–303.
De Martinis BS, Barnes AJ, Scheidweiler KB, Huestis MA. Development and validation of a disk solid phase extraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry method for MDMA, MDA, HMMA, HMA, MDEA, methamphetamine and amphetamine in sweat. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2007; 852(1–2): 450–458.
Barnes AJ, Smith ML, Kacinko SL, Schwilke EW, Cone EJ, Moolchan ET, et al. Excretion of methamphetamine and amphetamine in human sweat following controlled oral methamphetamine administration. Clin Chem. 2008; 54(1): 172–80.
Worek F, Mast U, Kiderlen D, Diepold C, Eyer P. Improved determination of acetylcholinesterase activity in human whole blood. Clin Chim Acta. 1999; 288(1–2): 73–90.
Kim JH, Stevens RC, MacCoss MJ, Goodlett DR, Scherl A, Richter RJ, et al. Identification and characterization of biomarkers of organophosphorus exposures in humans. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2010; 660: 61–71.
RidanoME, Racca AC, Flores-Martín J, Camolotto SA, de Potas GM, Genti-Raimondi S, et al. Chlorpyrifos modifies the expression of genes involved in human placental function. Reprod Toxicol. 2012; 33(3): 331–338.
Güngördü A, Sireci N, Küçükbay H, Birhanli A, Ozmen M. Evaluation of in vitro and in vivo toxic effects of newly synthesized benzimidazole-based organophosphorus compounds. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2013; 87: 23–32.
Lionetto MG, Caricato R, Calisi A, Giordano ME, Schettino T. Acetylcholinesterase as a biomarker in environmental and occupational medicine: new insights and future perspectives. Biomed Res Int. 2013; 2013: 321213.
Cocker J, Mason HJ, Garfitt SJ, Jones K. Biological monitoring of exposure to organophosphate pesticides. Toxicol Lett. 2002; 134(1–3): 97–103.
Singh S, Kumar V, Singh P, Banerjee BD, Rautela RS, Grover SS, et al. Influence of CYP2C9, GSTM1, GSTT1 and NAT2 genetic polymorphisms on DNA damage in workers occupationally exposed to organophosphate pesticides. Mutat Res. 2012; 741(1–2): 101–108.
Crane AL, Abdel Rasoul G, Ismail AA, Hendy O, Bonner MR, Lasarev MR, et al. Longitudinal assessment of chlorpyrifos exposure and effect biomarkers in adolescent Egyptian agricultural workers. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2013; 23(4): 356–362.
Ellison CA, Crane AL, Bonner MR, Knaak JB, Browne RW, Lein PJ, et al. PON1 status does not influence cholinesterase activity in Egyptian agricultural workers exposed to chlorpyrifos. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2012; 265(3): 308–315.
Dhananjayan V, Ravichandran B, Anitha N, Rajmohan HR. Assessment of acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase activities in blood plasma of agriculture workers. Indian J Occup Environ Med. 2012; 16(3): 127–130.
Kacinko SL, Barnes AJ, Schwilke EW, Cone EJ, Moolchan ET, Huestis MA. Disposition of cocaine and its metabolites in human sweat after controlled cocaine administration. Clin Chem. 2005; 51(11): 2085–2094.
Liberty HJ, Johnson BD, Fortner N, Randolph D. Detecting crack and other cocaine use with fastpatches. Addict Biol. 2003; 8(2): 191–200.
Appenzeller BM, Schummer C, Rodrigues SB, Wennig R. Determination of the volume of sweat accumulated in a sweat-patch using sodium and potassium as internal reference. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2007; 852(1–2): 333–337.
Rosenberg NM, Queen RM, Stamper JH. Sweat-patch test for monitoring pesticide absorption by airblast applicators. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 1985; 35(1): 68–72.
Kidwell DA, Smith FP. Susceptibility of PharmChek drugs of abuse patch to environmental contamination. Forensic Sci Int. 2001;116(2–3): 89–106.
Kidwell DA, Kidwell JD, Shinohara F, Harper C, Roarty K, Bernadt K, et al. Comparison of daily urine, sweat, and skin swabs among cocaine users. Forensic Sci Int. 2003; 133(1–2): 63–78.
Uemura N, Nath RP, Harkey MR, Henderson GL, Mendelson J, Jones RT. Cocaine levels in sweat collection patches vary by location of patch placement and decline over time. J Anal Toxicol. 2004; 28(4): 253–259.
Barnes AJ, De Martinis BS, Gorelick DA, Goodwin RS, Kolbrich EA, Huestis MA. Disposition of MDMA and metabolites in human sweat following controlled MDMA administration. Clin Chem. 2009; 55(3): 454–462.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top