Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Rotenone and Paraquat Linked to Parkinson's Disease: Human Exposure Study Supports Years of Animal Studies

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Rotenone and Paraquat Linked to Parkinson's Disease: Human Exposure Study Supports Years of Animal Studies

Article excerpt

A growing body of evidence suggests pesticides may play a role in Parkinsons disease (PD) in humans. Self-reported PD has been associated with lifetime use of pesticides, and animal studies have suggested that the pesticides paraquat and rotenone can cause oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction, respectively--posited mechanisms of action in PD--as well as symptoms in rodents similar to human PD. Now, researchers have linked human exposure to paraquat and rotenone with PD [EHP 119(6):866-872; Tanner et al.]. Their study is the first analysis of pesticides classified by presumed mechanism of action rather than by intended use or chemical class.

The researchers assessed lifetime use of pesticides as reported by participants in the Agricultural Health Study, a prospective study of private pesticide applicators (mostly farmers) and cheir spouses in Iowa and North Carolina. In the nested case-control study, neurologists specializing in movement disorders identified 110 people with PD and 358 controls without who were frequency matched by age, sex, and state.

The researchers collected detailed information about use of 31 different pesticides as well as covariate information including lifelong smoking and family history of PD. Each pesticide was classified according to its mechanism of action as either an oxidative stressor or a mitochondrial complex 1 inhibitor. For participants with PD, the researchers considered pesticide use that occurred before their PD diagnosis. For controls, they considered pesticide use that occurred before the median age of PD diagnosis for cases in the corresponding age-, sex-, and state-specific groups. …

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