Genetic background accounts for only 5 to 10% of the reported cases of Parkinson's
disease (PD), while the remaining cases are of unknown etiology. It is believed that environmental
factors may be involved in the causality of a large proportion of PD cases. Several PD
genes are activated by xenobiotic exposure, and a link between pesticide exposure and PD has
been demonstrated. Many epidemiological studies have shown an association between PD and
exposure to metals such as mercury, lead, manganese, copper, iron, aluminum, bismuth,
thallium, and zinc. This review explores the biological effects, the pathogenetic processes,
genetic susceptibilities to metals as well as examining future strategies for PD treatment, such
as chelation therapy.
Keywords: Substantia nigra, alpha-synuclein, beta-amyloid, glutamate, glutathione, oxidative stress, metals, dopamine.
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