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Exp Neurol. 2007 Apr;204(2):619-30. Epub 2007 Jan 5.

Dieldrin exposure induces oxidative damage in the mouse nigrostriatal dopamine system.

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Center for Neurodegenerative Disease, Emory University School of Medicine, 615 Michael Street, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


Numerous epidemiological studies have shown an association between pesticide exposure and an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease (PD). Here, we provide evidence that the insecticide dieldrin causes specific oxidative damage in the nigrostriatal dopamine (DA) system. We report that exposure of mice to low levels of dieldrin for 30 days resulted in alterations in dopamine-handling as evidenced by a decrease in dopamine metabolites, DOPAC (31.7% decrease) and HVA (29.2% decrease) and significantly increased cysteinyl-catechol levels in the striatum. Furthermore, dieldrin resulted in a 53% decrease in total glutathione, an increase in the redox potential of glutathione, and a 90% increase in protein carbonyls. Alpha-synuclein protein expression was also significantly increased in the striatum (25% increase). Finally, dieldrin caused a significant decrease in striatal expression of the dopamine transporter as measured by (3)H-WIN 35,428 binding and (3)H-dopamine uptake. These alterations occurred in the absence of dopamine neuron loss in the substantia nigra pars compacta. These effects represent the ability of low doses of dieldrin to increase the vulnerability of nigrostriatal dopamine neurons by inducing oxidative stress and suggest that pesticide exposure may act as a promoter of PD.

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