Link to citation in PubMed
A group of researchers from Hawaii (Ross et al., 2019) investigating subjects from the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study (HAAS) has obsevered that the prevalence of Lewy neuropathology is nearly doubled in the presence versus the absence of heptachlor epoxide. Similar but slightly weaker associations were observed with two other organochlorine compounds (i.e., hexachlorobenzene and α-chlordane). These results were significant after exclusion of subjects with Parkinson's disease (PD). These findings implicate organochlorine compounds in the severity of Lewy neuropathology in subjects without PD. These findings also reveal a potential point of interaction between organochlorine exposure and a neuropathological process implicated in PD.
Link to citation in PubMed
A new study by Gamache and colleagues (2019) indicates that exposure to pesticides and toxic metals were both associated with an earlier onset of Parkinson's disease. This effect was greater with higher levels of exposure, both in terms of frequency and proximity.
These findings are strikingly to similar to the observations of Ratner and colleagues 2014 who also observed a younger age at onset of sporadic PD among subjects occupationally exposed to metals and pesticides.
Both studies used the same exposure history questionnaire and the Ward and Gibb diagnostic criteria for selection of subjects for research in PD. While the Ratner study looked at duration of exposure, the Gamache study looked at proximity and frequency. These two complimentary studies provide important insight into the role of chemical exposure duration and intensity in the age at onset of PD. Another related study using the same inclusion criteria by Wilk and colleagues (2006) found a younger age at onset of PD among subjects with familial PD exposed to herbicides who also had a single nucleotide polymorphism in a gene that codes for the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase (GST). Future studies designed to further elucidate the relationships between genetic factors that influence drug metabolism and exposure history are needed.
Based on recent observations by Harischandra and colleagues (2019) showing that exosomes isolated from serum of welders have a higher seeding capacity and misfolded α-synuclein protein content compared to exosomes isolated from healthy controls, we have proposed that future research should be designed to evaluate the link between age at onset of idiopathic PD and exosomal α-synuclein in the serum of welders (see Rutchik and Ratner, 2019).
Dr. Ratner's commissioned work for the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) of Ontario, Canada (a.k.a. "the Ratner Paper") set the standard used by the Workplace Safety Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT) for occupational chemical exposure claims related to age at onset of PD.
Link to Gamache et al 2019 article.
Link to Ratner et al. 2014 article.
Link to Harischandra et al 2019 article.
Link to Wilk et al 2006 article.
Link to Rutchik and Ratner 2019 article.
LInk to WSIAT ruling based opt "the Ratner Paper".
New data supports connection between mitochondrial CYP2D6 activation of chemicals to toxic intermediates and Parkinson's disease risk
A new study by Narayan Avadhani and Mrittika Chattopadhyay, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, suggests that the enzyme, mitochondrial cytochrome P4502D6, plays a role in Parkinson's disease.
Previous studies have implicated MPTP and similar toxic compounds in Parkinson's disease risk. Earlier work by Avadhani and colleagues has shown that CYP2D6 plays a role in metabolizing MPTP to the toxic metabolite MPP. The results of their new study indicate that toxicants resembling MPTP found in tobacco smoke, alcohol, and some foods are also activated by CYP2D6. This route of metabolic activation was shown in a mouse model, to result in neuronal damage and oxidative stress, and symptoms akin to Parkinson's. "CYP2D6 is known to play a role in influencing the activity of a number of drugs," said Avadhani.
To learn more about the connection between neurotoxicant metabolism and PD risk and age at onset of this disease read my review on the topic here.
Link to original news story here
Link to article in JBC
Maureen Salamon from WebMD is reporting on the results of a new study indicating that patients younger than age 65 years old who have previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder are at an increased risk for developing Parkinson's disease. It is well recognized that many of the medications used to treat bipolar disorder can cause iatrogenic drug-induced parkinsonism suggesting that there may be a point of mechanistic interaction between these medications and age at onset of Parkinson's disease.
Link to story on WedMD
Link to original article in Neurology.
Tauopathy is neuropathological finding associated with Alzheimer's disease. A new study from a group of researchers at the MD Anderson Cancer Center suggests that the neurotoxic side effects of the chemotherapy agent cisplatin accelerates formation of Tau-1 clusters and decreases levels of the post-synaptic marker PSD95 and of the presynaptic marker synaptophysin in the hippocampus. These findings demonstrate for the first time that certain neurotoxic chemotherapy agents can accelerate development of tauopathy and loss of synaptic integrity in the hippocampus. This finding demonstrates how neurotoxic chemicals can modify the subclinical and clinical course of a neurodegenerative disease associated with memory dysfunction. These results are of importance to patients diagnosed with cancer who also have a family history of Alzheimer's disease. If you have any concerns about these findings please discuss these with your treating physician.
Link to publication
A new study by Harischandra and colleagues which appear in Science Signaling suggests that manganese promotes the aggregation and prion-like cell-to-cell exosomal transmission of α-synuclein which is implicated in Parkinson's disease. Welders exposed to manganese were found to have increased misfolded α-synuclein in their serum exosomes.
These novel findings shed light on a previously unrecognized mechanism via which manganese can exacerbate and unmask latent idiopathic Parkinson's disease.
Link to original peer reviewed publication
A study by Goutman and colleagues which appears in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry finds that higher plasma levels of persistent environmental pollutants is a risk factor in the progression of ALS.
These findings indicate that environmental exposures to toxicants plays a role in the progression of neurodegenerative disease such as ALS.
Link to original news report in Science Daily
Link to publication
A new study by Carmona et al. (2019) suggests that a mutation in a gene (Slc30a10) implicated in familial forms of parkinsonism plays a role in the accumulation of manganese (Mn) within the golgi apparatus of cells. This gene encodes for a cell surface protein involved in the efflux of Mn which protects the cell against Mn toxicity. Mutations in this gene result in synthesis of a defective protein that does not does not function properly resulting in accumulation of Mn within the cell. Carmona and colleagues (2019) used a newly developed SXRF cryogenic nanoimaging technology to show that Mn gets trapped inside vesicles within the Golgi apparatus (see image below) suggesting that interactions between Mn and vesicular trafficking machinery may play a role in the parkinsonism.
Link to story in Physics World by Belle Dumé
Link to citation in PubMed
Welders have elevated serum levels of ASC and proinflammatory cytokines compared to age-matched controls.
Results of a new study by Sarkar and colleagues (2019) published in the journal Science Signaling suggests that exposure to constituents of welding fumes amplifies NLRP3 inflammasome signaling and exosomal ASC release. The NLRP3 inflammasome oligomeric complex is composed of an adapter protein ASC (apoptosis- associated speck-like protein containing a CARD), caspase-1, and NLRP3. Welders have plasma exosomes that contain more of the adapter protein ASC (apoptosis- associated speck-like protein containing a CARD) than controls. Many factors have been implicated in activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome cascade including mitochondrial dysfunction which can be mediated by manganese. However, when these investigators analyzed whole blood for manganese levels in welders and unexposed controls they did not observe any significant differences. More work is needed to determine which constituents of welding fumes are are associated with these observations.
Link to publication
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (Ash et al., 2019) have reported on new data demonstrating a direct mechanistic link between exposure to heavy metals and risk for developing ALS. These studies showed that lead (Pb) and methyl mercury (MeHg) disrupt the homeostasis of TDP-43 in neurons. These metals also triggered the accumulation of insoluble TDP-43 in cultured cells and in the cortices of exposed mice. These new data provide evidence for a mechanistic link between a commonly cited environmental risk factor for ALS, and molecular changes in TDP-43, the primary pathological protein accumulating in ALS.
Link to article
Dr. Marcia Ratner shares and reviews the news.