Various human diseases are known to occur as a result of gene-environment interactions. Amongst such
diseases, neurodegenerative Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a complex disorder in which genetics and exposure to toxins
constitute the main determinants in the onset of the disease. Many studies have reported on a link between pesticide
exposure and increased risk of PD, however the role of different classes of pesticides vis-à-vis Parkinsonism has not been
well elucidated. We carried out the present study to explore the role of six groups of pesticides viz botanicals, herbicides,
fungicides, organophosphates, carbamates and pyrethroids on PD and and associated neurotoxic effects. These pesticides
were studied using transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans model expressing human alpha synuclein protein tagged with
yellow fluorescent protein [NL5901; (Punc-54::alphasynuclein::YFP+unc-119)] in the body wall muscle. Amongst all the
classes of pesticides examined, botanical rotenone showed severe effects on PD pathogenesis. It significantly increased
alpha synuclein aggregation and oxidative stress. Furthermore, it reduced mitochondrial and lipid content in the worms.
Pesticides from other classes were observed to exert marginal effects as compared to rotenone thus suggesting that there is
a class or structure specific effect of environmental chemicals vis-à-vis Parkinsonism. Hence it may be deduced that all
classes of toxicants do not induce similar effects on neurodegeneration and associated events.
Keywords: Parkinson disease, α-synuclein, pesticides, Caenorhabditis elegans.
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