Current Environmental Health Reports

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 40–52

Of Pesticides and Men: a California Story of Genes and Environment in Parkinson’s Disease

  • Beate R. Ritz
  • Kimberly C. Paul
  • Jeff M. Bronstein
Susceptibility Factors in Environmental Health (B Ritz, Section Editor)

DOI: 10.1007/s40572-016-0083-2

Cite this article as:
Ritz, B.R., Paul, K.C. & Bronstein, J.M. Curr Envir Health Rpt (2016) 3: 40. doi:10.1007/s40572-016-0083-2
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Susceptibility Factors in Environmental Health


At the start of the postgenomics era, most Parkinson’s disease (PD) etiology cannot be explained by our knowledge of genetic or environmental factors alone. For more than a decade, we have explored gene–environment (GxE) interactions possibly responsible for the heterogeneity of genetic as well as environmental results across populations. We developed three pesticide exposure measures (ambient due to agricultural applications, home and garden use, and occupational use) in a large population-based case–control study of incident PD in central California. Specifically, we assessed interactions with genes responsible for pesticide metabolism (PON1); transport across the blood–brain barrier (ABCB1); pesticides interfering with or depending on dopamine transporter activity (DAT/SLC6A3) and dopamine metabolism (ALDH2); impacting mitochondrial function via oxidative/nitrosative stress (NOS1) or proteasome inhibition (SKP1); and contributing to immune dysregulation (HLA-DR). These studies established some specificity for pesticides’ neurodegenerative actions, contributed biologic plausibility to epidemiologic findings, and identified genetically susceptible populations.


Pesticides Gene–environment interactions Parkinson’s disease 

Supplementary material

40572_2016_83_MOESM1_ESM.docx (49 kb)
ESM 1(DOCX 48 kb)
40572_2016_83_MOESM2_ESM.docx (41 kb)
ESM 2(DOCX 41 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beate R. Ritz
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kimberly C. Paul
    • 1
  • Jeff M. Bronstein
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology, Fielding School of Public HealthUCLALos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Center for Occupational and Environmental HealthUCLALos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Department of Neurology, Geffen School of MedicineUCLALos AngelesUSA

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