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Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2008 Jun;29(6):322-9. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2008 Apr 29.

Parkinson's disease and pesticides: a toxicological perspective.

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


Environmental factors have been shown to contribute to the incidence of Parkinson's disease (PD). Pesticides, which represent one of the primary classes of environmental agents associated with PD, share the common feature of being intentionally released into the environment to control or eliminate pests. Pesticides consist of multiple classes and subclasses of insecticides, herbicides, rodenticides, fungicides, fumigants and others and exhibit a vast array of chemically diverse structures. In this review we examine the evidence regarding the ability of each of the major pesticide subclasses to increase the incidence of PD. We propose that, from a toxicological perspective, it would be beneficial to identify specific subclasses, common structural features and the propensity for widespread human exposure when considering the potential role in PD, rather than using the overly broad term of 'pesticides' to describe this diverse group of chemicals. Furthermore, these chemicals and their environmentally relevant combinations should be evaluated for their ability to promote or accelerate PD and not merely for being singular causative agents.

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