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The Site of Action of DDT in the Cockroach

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Science  08 Mar 1946:
Vol. 103, Issue 2671, pp. 304-306
DOI: 10.1126/science.103.2671.304


(1) Although DDT undoubtedly affects motor nerves and muscle fibers in concentrations greater than 1,000 ppm, this action cannot be directly responsible for the clonic tremors in the DDT-poisoned cockroach which can be produced by internal concentrations of the order of 5 ppm.

(2) DDT has no significant action on the cockroach central nervous system.

(3) DDT emulsion perfused through the leg of the cockroach in concentrations as low as 0.01 ppm causes the appearance of a series of high frequency trains of axon spikes in the afferent fibers.

(4) It is concluded that the tremors characteristic of DDT poisoning are due to an intense afferent bombardment of the motor neurons.