Toxicologic evidence of developmental neurotoxicity of Type II pyrethroids cyfluthrin and alpha-cypermethrin in SH-SY5Y cells

María Aránzazu Martínez, Bernardo Lopez-Torres, José Luis Rodríguez, Marta Martínez, Jorge Enrique Maximiliano, María Rosa Martínez-Larrañaga, Arturo Anadón, Irma Ares

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23 Scopus citations


We attempted to identify cellular mechanisms as an approach to screen chemicals for the potential to cause developmental neurotoxicity. We examine, in SH-SY5Y cells, whether apoptosis and oxidative stress via reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, caspase 3/7 activation, gene expression (Bax, Bcl-2, Casp-3, BNIP3, p53 and Nrf2) alterations and necrosis by release of cytosolic adenylate kinase (AK), underlie direct effects of the pyrethroids cyfluthrin and alpha-cypermethrin. We also determined transcriptional alterations of genes (TUBB3, NEFL, NEFH, GAP43, CAMK2A, CAMK2B, WNT3A, WNT5A, WNT7A, SYN1 and PIK3C3) linked to neuronal development and maturation. Our results indicate that cyfluthrin and alpha-cypermethrin have the ability to elicit concentration-dependent increases in AK release, cellular ROS production, caspase 3/7 activity and gene expression of apoptosis and oxidative stress mediators. Both pyrethroids caused changes in mRNA expression of key target genes linked to neuronal development. These changes might reflect in a subsequent neuronal dysfunction. Our study shows that SH-SY5Y cell line is a valuable in vitro model for predicting development neurotoxicity. Our research provides evidence that cyfluthrin and alpha-cypermethrin have the potential to act as developmental neurotoxic compounds. Additional information is needed to improve the utility of this in vitro model and/or better understand its predictive capability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111173
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
StatePublished - Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • Alpha-cypermethrin
  • Cyfluthrin
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Neurotoxicity
  • SH-SY5Y cells
  • Signaling pathways


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