Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 5359–5368 | Cite as

PBPK/PD assessment for Parkinson’s disease risk posed by airborne pesticide paraquat exposure

  • Yi-Hsien Cheng
  • Wei-Chun Chou
  • Ying-Fei Yang
  • Chi-Wei Huang
  • Chun Ming How
  • Szu-Chieh Chen
  • Wei-Yu Chen
  • Nan-Hung Hsieh
  • Yi-Jun Lin
  • Shu-Han You
  • Chung-Min Liao
Research Article


Exposure to several specific pesticides has led to an increase of Parkinson’s disease (PD) risk. However, it is difficult to quantify the PD population risk related to certain pesticides in regions where environmental exposure data are scarce. Furthermore, the time trend of the prevalence and incidence of PD embedded in the background relationship between PD risk and pesticide exposures has not been well characterized. It has been convincingly identified that a key pesticide associated significantly with an increased risk trend of PD is paraquat (PQ). Here, we present a novel, probabilistic population-based exposure-response approach to quantify the contribution from PQ exposure to prevalence risk of PD. We found that the largest PQ exposure contributions occurred in its positive trend during 2004–2011, with the PQ contributing nearly 21 and 24%, respectively, to the PD prevalence rates among the age groups of 70–79 and ≥ 80 years in Taiwan. We also employed the present population risk model to predict the PQ-induced PD prevalence based on the projected rates of increase in PQ exposure associated with age-specific population. The predicted outcome can be used as an early warning signal for public health authorities. We suggest that a mechanistic understanding of the contribution of a specific pesticide exposure to PD risk trends is crucial to enhance our insights into the perspective on the impacts of environmental exposure on the neurodegenerative diseases.


Parkinson’s disease Paraquat Pesticide Population exposure-response function PBPK/PD Probabilistic risk assessment 



This work was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of China under Grant MOST 105-2313-B-002-020-MY3.

Compliance with ethical standard

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Research involving human participants and animal rights

The article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

11356_2017_875_MOESM1_ESM.docx (97 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 97 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yi-Hsien Cheng
    • 1
  • Wei-Chun Chou
    • 2
  • Ying-Fei Yang
    • 3
  • Chi-Wei Huang
    • 3
  • Chun Ming How
    • 3
  • Szu-Chieh Chen
    • 4
    • 5
  • Wei-Yu Chen
    • 6
  • Nan-Hung Hsieh
    • 7
  • Yi-Jun Lin
    • 8
  • Shu-Han You
    • 2
  • Chung-Min Liao
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Computational Comparative Medicine, Department of Anatomy and PhysiologyKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA
  2. 2.National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Health Research InstitutesMiaoli CountyTaiwan, Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of Bioenvironmental Systems EngineeringNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan, Republic of China
  4. 4.Department of Public HealthChung Shan Medical UniversityTaichungTaiwan, Republic of China
  5. 5.Department of Family and Community MedicineChung Shan Medical University HospitalTaichungTaiwan, Republic of China
  6. 6.Department of Biomedical Science and Environmental BiologyKaohsiung Medical UniversityKaohsiungTaiwan, Republic of China
  7. 7.Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical SciencesTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  8. 8.Institute of Food Safety and Health Risk AssessmentNational Yang-Ming UniversityTaipeiTaiwan, Republic of China

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