Study Links Pesticides with Parkinson's Disease
Author: Anthony J. Brown, MD
However, there is no cause for general concern, since the way the pesticides were tested doesn't really reflect the way they're found in the environment.
"In an earlier study, we had shown that rotenone produces PD-like symptoms and features in rats," lead author Dr. Todd B. Sherer told Reuters Health. "However, rotenone really isn't used that commonly in the environment. So, in the current study, we wanted to see if other pesticides produce the same type of (cell) damage as rotenone."
The new findings were presented at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in New Orleans.
In the study, Sherer and colleagues, from Emory University in Atlanta, tested several pesticides in the lab to see if they damage cells as rotenone does. The pesticides included pyridaben, fenazaquin, and fenpyroximate.
With the possible exception of fenazaquin, all of the agents caused cell damage similar to that seen with rotenone. In fact, one agent--pyridaben--was even more toxic than rotenone. "Fenazaquin was only toxic at very high doses," Sherer noted.
These pesticides may therefore also lead to Parkinson's disease, Sherer said. "Based on the current findings, we plan on testing pyridaben's effects in an animal study like we did with rotenone."
Still, these findings are "really just a proof of principle and they shouldn't cause any major concern regarding the use of these pesticides," Sherer emphasized. "The way people are exposed to these chemicals is much different than the lab setting."