Navigation Links
Pesticides and Parkinson's: UCLA researchers uncover further proof of a link
Date:1/4/2013

For several years, neurologists at UCLA have been building a case that a link exists between pesticides and Parkinson's disease. To date, paraquat, maneb and ziram common chemicals sprayed in California's Central Valley and elsewhere have been tied to increases in the disease, not only among farmworkers but in individuals who simply lived or worked near fields and likely inhaled drifting particles.

Now, UCLA researchers have discovered a link between Parkinson's and another pesticide, benomyl, whose toxicological effects still linger some 10 years after the chemical was banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Even more significantly, the research suggests that the damaging series of events set in motion by benomyl may also occur in people with Parkinson's disease who were never exposed to the pesticide, according to Jeff Bronstein, senior author of the study and a professor of neurology at UCLA, and his colleagues.

Benomyl exposure, they say, starts a cascade of cellular events that may lead to Parkinson's. The pesticide prevents an enzyme called ALDH (aldehyde dehydrogenase) from keeping a lid on DOPAL, a toxin that naturally occurs in the brain. When left unchecked by ALDH, DOPAL accumulates, damages neurons and increases an individual's risk of developing Parkinson's.

The investigators believe their findings concerning benomyl may be generalized to all Parkinson's patients. Developing new drugs to protect ALDH activity, they say, may eventually help slow the progression of the disease, whether or not an individual has been exposed to pesticides.

The research is published in the current online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Parkinson's disease is a debilitating neurodegenerative disorder that affects millions worldwide. Its symptoms including tremor, rigidity, and slowed movements and speech increase with the progressive degeneration of neurons, primarily in a part of the mid-brain called the substantia nigra. This area normally produces dopamine, a neurotransmitter that allows cells to communicate, and damage to the mid-brain has been linked to the disease. Usually, by the time Parkinson's symptoms manifest themselves, more than half of these neurons, known as dopaminergic neurons, have already been lost.

While researchers have identified certain genetic variations that cause an inherited form of Parkinson's, only a small fraction of the disease can be blamed on genes, said the study's first author, Arthur G. Fitzmaurice, a postdoctoral scholar in Bronstein's laboratory.

"As a result, environmental factors almost certainly play an important role in this disorder," Fitzmaurice said. "Understanding the relevant mechanisms particularly what causes the selective loss of dopaminergic neurons may provide important clues to explain how the disease develops."

Benomyl was widely used in the U.S. for three decades until toxicological evidence revealed it could potentially lead to liver tumors, brain malformations, reproductive effects and carcinogenesis. It was banned in 2001.

The researchers wanted to explore whether there was a relationship between benomyl and Parkinson's, which would demonstrate the possibility of long-lasting toxicological effects from pesticide use, even a decade after chronic exposure. But because a direct causal relationship between the pesticide and Parkinson's can't be established by testing humans, the investigators sought to determine if exposure in experimental models could duplicate some of the pathologic features of the disease.

They first tested the effects of benomyl in cell cultures and confirmed that the pesticide damaged or destroyed dopaminergic neurons.

Next, they tested the pesticide in a zebrafish model of the disease. This freshwater fish is commonly used in research because it is easy to manipulate genetically, it develops rapidly and it is transparent, making the observation and measurement of biological processes much easier. By using a fluorescent dye and counting the neurons, the researchers discovered there was significant neuron loss in the fish but only to the dopaminergic neurons. The other neurons were left unaffected.

Until now, evidence had pointed to one particular culprit a protein called α-synuclein in the development of Parkinson's. This protein, common to all Parkinson's patients, is thought to create a pathway to the disease when it binds together in "clumps" and becomes toxic, killing the brain's neurons. (See UCLA research using "molecular tweezers" to break up these toxic aggregations.)

The identification of ALDH activity now gives researchers another target to focus on in trying to stop this disease.

"We've known that in animal models and cell cultures, agricultural pesticides trigger a neurodegenerative process that leads to Parkinson's," said Bronstein, who directs the UCLA Movement Disorders Program. "And epidemiologic studies have consistently shown the disease occurs at high rates among farmers and in rural populations. Our work reinforces the hypothesis that pesticides may be partially responsible, and the discovery of this new pathway may be a new avenue for developing therapeutic drugs."


'/>"/>

Contact: Mark Wheeler
mwheeler@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2265
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Pesticides May Be Linked to Slightly Smaller Babies, Shorter Pregnancies
2. Smoking, Pesticides Might Spur Rare Sleep-Kicking Disorder
3. NIH awards $20 million over 5 years to train next generation of global health researchers
4. Researchers develop a new cell and animal model of inflammatory breast cancer
5. Researchers uncover a viable way for colorectal cancer patients to overcome drug resistance
6. Researchers Find Gene Mutations That May Be a Key to Autism
7. Researchers find evidence of banned antibiotics in poultry products
8. NJ stroke researchers report advances in spatial neglect research at AAN Conference
9. Autism by the numbers: Yale researchers examine impact of new diagnostic criteria
10. Researchers Map Brain Regions Linked to Intelligence
11. Researchers ID Genes That May Determine Mental Illness
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The American Board of Family Medicine's (ABFM) Board of Directors ... Officer, succeeding Dr. James C. Puffer upon his retirement. Dr. Newton will serve in ... retirement at the end of 2018. Upon assuming the role of President and CEO ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... PurhealthRX , a leading Health and Nutrition ... the Purzorb™process to full spectrum CBD oil will revolutionize the rapidly growing CBD market ... can be easily incorporated into liquid products, while reducing costs to end users. , ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Lori R. Somekh, ... member of ElderCounsel, a national organization of elder law and special needs planning attorneys. ... and rules. It also provides a forum to network with elder law attorneys nationwide,” ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Many families have long-term insurance ... care insurance companies have a waiver for care if the client has a cognitive ... the family pays for care, is often waived, so the benefits from their insurance ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... NY (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Ellevate ... people in business to advocate for action towards gender equality at their inaugural Summit ... from around the globe, and reached a social audience of over 3 million. To ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/25/2017)... , Sept. 25, 2017  EpiVax, Inc., a ... design, and immune-engineering today announced the launch of ... development of personalized therapeutic cancer vaccines. EpiVax has ... exclusive access to enabling technologies to the new ... will lead EpiVax Oncology as Chief Executive Officer. ...
(Date:9/22/2017)... 22, 2017 AVACEN Medical (AVACEN) announced that ... successfully helping those with the widespread pain associated with ... Amanda in Essex, England commented, ... hair, experiencing no sleep at all, tremendous pain, with ... cannot recommend [the AVACEN 100] enough, how this has ...
(Date:9/18/2017)... , Pa. and KALAMAZOO, Mich. , ... Allentown, Penn. , and OptiMed Specialty Pharmacy of ... business partnership to offer a strategic hub service that ... Healthcare,s highly sought-after personal spirometer, Spiro PD 2.0, and ... A spirometer is a medical device used to ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: