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Journal of the Brazilian Chemical Society

Print version ISSN 0103-5053On-line version ISSN 1678-4790


DELFINO, Reinaldo T.; RIBEIRO, Tatiana S.  and  FIGUEROA-VILLAR, José D.. Organophosphorus compounds as chemical warfare agents: a review. J. Braz. Chem. Soc. [online]. 2009, vol.20, n.3, pp.407-428. ISSN 0103-5053.

Chemical warfare agents constitute one of the greatest threats in the modern world. Among them, the neurotoxic agents are of special interest due to their high lethality and danger. Neurotoxic agents are organophosphorus compounds that act by inhibiting the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, which is fundamental for the control of transmission of nervous impulses. There are several ways of treating intoxication by organophosphorus compounds, but none of them is efficient against all the known neurotoxic agents or against all of their effects. This review focus on the use of organophosphorus compounds as neurotoxic chemical warfare agents. After a brief historical introduction, it will be done a discussion about the structural and biological characteristics of acetylcholinesterase, followed by a review of the properties of organophosphorus compounds and their application as chemical warfare agents. Finally, the ways of treatment against intoxication with these agents will be discussed, with emphasis on the oximes used for reactivating the inhibited acetylcholinesterase.

Keywords : chemical warfare agents; organophosphorus compounds; acetylcholinesterase; oximes; neurotoxic agents.

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