Organophosphorous (OPs) pesticides are the most widely used pesticides in the agriculture and home. However, many acute or chronic poisoning reports about OPs have been published in the recent years. Mitochondria as a site of cellular oxygen consumption and energy production can be a target for OPs poisoning as a non-cholinergic mechanism of toxicity of OPs. In the present review, we have reviewed and criticized all the evidences about the mitochondrial dysfunctions as a mechanism of toxicity of OPs. For this purpose, all biochemical, molecular, and morphological data were retrieved from various studies.
Some toxicities of OPs are arisen from dysfunction of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation through alteration of complexes I, II, III, IV and V activities and disruption of mitochondrial membrane. Reductions of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis or induction of its hydrolysis can impair the cellular energy. The OPs disrupt cellular and mitochondrial antioxidant defense, reactive oxygen species generation, and calcium uptake and promote oxidative and genotoxic damage triggering cell death via cytochrome C released from mitochondria and consequent activation of caspases. The mitochondrial dysfunction induced by OPs can be restored by use of antioxidants such as vitamin E and C, alpha-tocopherol, electron donors, and through increasing the cytosolic ATP level. However, to elucidate many aspect of mitochondrial toxicity of Ops, further studies should be performed.