Low doses of imidacloprid induce disruption of intercellular adhesion and initiate proinflammatory changes in Caco-2 cells

  • V. S. Nedzvetsky Bingöl University
  • D. M. Masiuk Dnipro State Agrarian and Economic University
  • V. Y. Gasso Oles Honchar Dnipro National University
  • S. V. Yermolenko Oles Honchar Dnipro National University
  • A. O. Huslystyi Oles Honchar Dnipro National University
  • V. A. Spirina Oles Honchar Dnipro National University
Keywords: neonicotinoids; TNF-α; iNOS; occludin; E-cadherin; intestine barrier function.


Imidacloprid is the most widely used pesticide of the neonicotinoid class. Neonicotinoid toxicities against various insects are well known. Nevertheless, there are rising evidences that neonicotinoids exert cytotoxic effects on different non-target organisms including mammals, fish, birds etc. Besides, depending on pesticide application, the exposed plants absorb some part of used neonicotinoids and their residues are detected in agricultural products worldwide. Thus, the continuous consumption of fruits and vegetables contaminated with neonicotinoids is a high risk factor for humans despite the low doses. Intestine epithelial cells are the first targets of the neonicotinoid cytotoxicity in humans because of its direct way of administration. The epithelial cells provide the barrier function of the intestinal system via specialized intercellular adhesion. The effects of imidacloprid on the intestine barrier function and inflammatory cytokines production are still unknown. In the present study, we exposed the human Caucasian colon adenocarcinoma (Caco-2) epithelial cells to low doses (0.10–0.75 µg/mL) of imidacloprid in order to assess the expression of tight and adherens junctions proteins, occludin and E-cadherin, and production of proinflammatory cytokine TNF α and iNOS. Imidacloprid induced dose-dependent decline in both occludin and E-cadherin levels. By contrast, TNF-α and iNOS contents were upregulated in imidacloprid-exposed Caco-2 cells. Decrease in tight and adherens junctions proteins indicates that the barrier function of intestine epithelial cells could be damaged by imidacloprid administration. In addition, TNF-α and iNOS upregulation indicates that imidacloprid is potent to activate proinflammatory response in enterocytes. Thus, imidacloprid can affect intestine barrier function through the increase of proinflammatory cytokine production and decrease in adhesiveness of enterocytes. The further assessment of the role of adhesion proteins and inflammatory cytokines in neonicotinoid pesticide cytotoxicity as it affects enterocyte barrier function is required to highlight the risk factor of use of neonicotinoids.


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How to Cite
Nedzvetsky, V. S., Masiuk, D. M., Gasso, V. Y., Yermolenko, S. V., Huslystyi, A. O., & Spirina, V. A. (2021). Low doses of imidacloprid induce disruption of intercellular adhesion and initiate proinflammatory changes in Caco-2 cells . Regulatory Mechanisms in Biosystems, 12(3), 430-437. https://doi.org/10.15421/022159