Paraquat exposure as an etiological factor of Parkinson's disease.Neurotoxicology. 2006 Dec; 27(6):1110-22.N
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a multifactorial chronic progressive neurodegenerative disease influenced by age, and by genetic and environmental factors. The role of genetic predisposition in PD has been increasingly acknowledged and a number of relevant genes have been identified (e.g., genes encoding alpha-synuclein, parkin, and dardarin), while the search for environmental factors that influence the pathogenesis of PD has only recently begun to escalate. In recent years, the investigation on paraquat (PQ) toxicity has suggested that this herbicide might be an environmental factor contributing to this neurodegenerative disorder. Although the biochemical mechanism through which PQ causes neurodegeneration in PD is not yet fully understood, PQ-induced lipid peroxidation and consequent cell death of dopaminergic neurons can be responsible for the onset of the Parkinsonian syndrome, thus indicating that this herbicide may induce PD or influence its natural course. PQ has also been recently considered as an eligible candidate for inducing the Parkinsonian syndrome in laboratory animals, and can therefore constitute an alternative tool in suitable animal models for the study of PD. In the present review, the recent evidences linking PQ exposure with PD development are discussed, with the aim of encouraging new perspectives and further investigation on the involvement of environmental agents in PD.