Effects of an environmentally-relevant mixture of pyrethroid insecticides on spontaneous activity in primary cortical networks on microelectrode arrays

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Pyrethroid insecticides exert their insecticidal and toxicological effects primarily by disrupting voltage-gated sodium channel (VGSC) function, resulting in altered neuronal excitability. Numerous studies of individual pyrethroids have characterized effects on mammalian VGSC function and neuronal excitability, yet studies examining effects of complex pyrethroid mixtures in mammalian neurons, especially in environmentally relevant mixture ratios, are limited. In the present study, concentration-response functions were characterized for five pyrethroids (permethrin, deltamethrin, cypermethrin, β-cyfluthrin and esfenvalerate) in an in vitro preparation containing cortical neurons and glia. As a metric of neuronal network activity, spontaneous mean network firing rates (MFR) were measured using microelectorde arrays (MEAs). In addition, the effect of a complex and exposure relevant mixture of the five pyrethroids (containing 52% permethrin, 28.8% cypermethrin, 12.9% β-cyfluthrin, 3.4% deltamethrin and 2.7% esfenvalerate) was also measured. Data were modeled to determine whether effects of the pyrethroid mixture were predicted by dose-addition. At concentrations up to 10 μM, all compounds except permethrin reduced MFR. Deltamethrin and β-cyfluthrin were the most potent and reduced MFR by as much as 60 and 50%, respectively, while cypermethrin and esfenvalerate were of approximately equal potency and reduced MFR by only ˜20% at the highest concentration. Permethrin caused small (˜24% maximum), concentration-dependent increases in MFR. Effects of the environmentally relevant mixture did not depart from the prediction of dose-addition. These data demonstrate that an environmentally relevant mixture caused dose-additive effects on spontaneous neuronal network activity in vitro, and is consistent with other in vitro and in vivo assessments of pyrethroid mixtures.

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