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.
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