Of Pesticides and Men: a California Story of Genes and Environment in Parkinson’s Disease
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- Ritz, B.R., Paul, K.C. & Bronstein, J.M. Curr Envir Health Rpt (2016) 3: 40. doi:10.1007/s40572-016-0083-2
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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.