Apr 13, 2016

A Possible Link Between Pyriproxyfen and Microcephaly

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Dan EvansYaneer Bar-Yam


The Zika virus is the primary suspect in the large increase in microcephaly cases in 2015-6 in Brazil, however its role is unconfirmed despite individual cases of viral infections found in neural tissue. Here we consider the alternative that the insecticide pyriproxyfen, used in Brazilian drinking water for mosquito control, may actually be the cause. Pyriproxifen is an analog of juvenile hormone, which corresponds in mammals to regulatory molecules including retinoic acid, a vitamin A metabolite, with which it has cross-reactivity and whose application during development causes microcephaly. Methoprene, another juvenile hormone analog approved as an insecticide has metabolites that bind to the retinoid X receptor, and causes developmental disorders in mammals. Isotretinoin is another example of a retinoid causing microcephaly in human babies via activation of the retinoid X receptor. Moreover, tests of pyriproxyfen by the manufacturer, Sumitomo, widely quoted as giving no evidence for developmental toxicity, actually found some evidence for such an effect, including low brain mass and arhinencephaly--incomplete formation of the anterior cerebral hemispheres--in rat pups. Finally, the pyriproxyfen use in Brazil is unprecedented...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Vitamin A
Retinoid X Receptors
Virus Diseases
Cortical Cell Layer of the Cerebral Cortex
Toxic Effect

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