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Polymorphisms of paraoxonase (PON1) and their significance in clinical toxicology of organophosphates.

Paraoxonase (PON1) is an HDL-associated enzyme capable of hydrolyzing multiple substrates, including several organophosphorous insecticides and nerve agents, oxidized lipids, and a number of drugs or pro-drugs. Several polymorphisms in the paraoxonase (PON1) gene have been described, which have been shown to affect either the catalytic efficiency of hydrolysis or the expression level of PON1. This review discusses the relevance of these polymorphisms for modulating sensitivity to organophosphorous compounds. Animal studies characterizing the PON1 polymorphisms have demonstrated the relevance of PON1 in modulating OP toxicity and have indicated the importance of an individual's PON1 status (i.e., genotype and phenotype taken together) rather than genotyping alone. Nevertheless, direct confirmation in humans of the relevance of PON1 status in conferring susceptibility to OP toxicity is still elusive. Recent studies examining the involvement of PON1 status in determining OP susceptibility of Gulf War veterans, sheep dippers, and individuals poisoned with chemical warfare agents represent a step in the right direction, but more studies are needed, with better documentation of both the level of exposure and the consequences of exposure.[1]


  1. Polymorphisms of paraoxonase (PON1) and their significance in clinical toxicology of organophosphates. Costa, L.G., Cole, T.B., Furlong, C.E. J. Toxicol. Clin. Toxicol. (2003) [Pubmed]
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