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Neurotoxicology. 2011 Jun;32(3):331-41. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2011.02.002. Epub 2011 Mar 3.

Exposure to Mn/Zn ethylene-bis-dithiocarbamate and glyphosate pesticides leads to neurodegeneration in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Department of Biology, King College, Bristol, TN 37620, USA.


Epidemiological evidence suggests positive correlations between pesticide usage and the incidence of Parkinson's disease (PD). To further explore this relationship, we used wild type (N2) Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) to test the following hypothesis: Exposure to a glyphosate-containing herbicide (TD) and/or a manganese/zinc ethylene-bis-dithiocarbamate-containing fungicide (MZ) may lead to neurotoxicity. We exposed N2 worms to varying concentrations of TD or MZ for 30 min (acute) or 24h (chronic). To replicate agricultural usage, a third population was exposed to TD (acute) followed by MZ (acute). For acute TD exposure, the LC(50)=8.0% (r(2)=0.6890), while the chronic LC(50)=5.7% (r(2)=0.9433). Acute MZ exposure led to an LC(50)=0.22% (r(2)=0.5093), and chronic LC(50)=0.50% (r(2)=0.9733). The combined treatment for TD+MZ yielded an LC(50)=12.5% (r(2)=0.6367). Further studies in NW1229 worms, a pan-neuronally green fluorescent protein (GFP) tagged strain, indicated a statistically significant (p<0.05) and dose-dependent reduction in green pixel number in neurons of treated worms following each paradigm. This reduction of pixel number was accompanied by visual neurodegeneration in photomicrographs. For the dual treatment, Bliss analysis suggested synergistic interactions. Taken together, these data suggest neuronal degeneration occurs in C. elegans following treatment with environmentally relevant concentrations of TD or MZ.

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