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Neurobiol Dis. 2006 Jul;23(1):198-205. Epub 2006 Apr 19.

Inhibitory effects of pesticides on proteasome activity: implication in Parkinson's disease.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of California at Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


Epidemiological studies have suggested a correlation of pesticides and Parkinson's disease (PD) while genetic and biochemical studies have implicated the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) in the pathogenesis of PD. In the present studies, we tested the hypothesis that pesticide exposure increases the risk of developing PD by inhibiting the UPS. The effects of pesticides on proteasome activity were examined in SK-N-MC neuroblastoma cells overexpressing a GFP-conjugated proteasome degradation signal, GFP(u). Six out of 25 representative pesticides, including rotenone, ziram, diethyldithiocarbamate, endosulfan, benomyl, and dieldrin, showed inhibitory effects on proteasome activities at low concentrations (10 nM to 10 microM). Unlike proteasome inhibitors, they did not inhibit 20 S proteasome activities in cell lysates. Except for rotenone, the other five pesticides did not induce significantly cellular oxidative stress. The cytotoxic effects of these pesticides were closely correlated with proteasome inhibition. Our results suggest proteasome inhibition as a potential mechanism for the epidemiological association of pesticides and PD.

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