Occupational Pesticide Exposure Increases Risk of Parkinson’s Disease in Persons LRRK2 Mutation

Media Contact: Elizabeth Clausen, +1 414-276-2145, eclausen@movementdisorders.org
 

MIAMI – Occupational pesticide exposure is linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease (PD) in persons with a specific LRRK2 mutation, according to a study released today at the 1st Pan American Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Congress.

Previous studies have provided evidence of a link between pesticides and incidence of sporadic PD through occupational exposure. This latest study, led by Caroline Tanner et al., investigated the role of pesticides on penetrance in LRRK2-associated PD, specifically in carriers with the G2019S mutation.

The researchers identified symptomatic and asymptomatic PD subjects with the G2019S mutation who participated in an international LRRK2 study and provided information on occupational pesticide exposure.  Findings were primarily observed in men, as few women were exposed to pesticides. Among PD symptomatic men, 20% of enrolled subjects were exposed to any type of pesticide compared to 4.7% of asymptomatic PD men. Furthermore, of the sample population, an increased hazard of PD was associated with occupational fungicide exposure, with 7.8% of symptomatic men compared to 0% of asymptomatic men.

Mark Stacy, Professor of Neurology and Vice Dean for Clinical Research at Duke University School of Medicine, states, “This report offers an avenue of investigation to assess the long-standing hypothesis of an internal (genetic) risk requires an external (environmental) trigger to produce the syndrome. While there were no differences between women (who overall reported less occupational pesticide exposure than men), occupational fungicide use is definitively and herbicide or insecticide use is possibly associated with increased penetrance of PD in G2019S carriers in men.”

Stacy adds, “Taken together, the advance in understanding of the genetic variations in our population, coupled with improved assessment of toxin exposure may allow us to identify a potential compound to modify the risk and rate of progression of PD.”

About the 1st Pan American Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Congress: Meeting attendees gather to learn about the latest research findings and relevant issues in the field of Movement Disorders specific to North, Central and South America. Over 400 physicians and medical professionals will be able to view over 150 scientific abstracts submitted by clinicians from the Pan American region and throughout the world.

About the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society: The International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS), an international society of over 5,000 clinicians, scientists, and other healthcare professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. For more information about MDS, visit www.movementdisorders.org

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