Organochlorine insecticides in substantia nigra in Parkinson's disease

J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2000 Feb 25;59(4):229-34. doi: 10.1080/009841000156907.


The concentrations of organochlorine (OC) compounds in the substantia nigra (SN) were compared in Parkinson's disease (PD) with concentrations in brain from cortical Lewy body dementia (CLBD), Alzheimer's disease (AD), and nondemented nonparkinsonian controls (CON). The levels of the gamma isomer of hexachlorocyclohexane (gammaHCH, lindane) were significantly higher in PD tissues (mean +/- SD: 0.56 +/- 0.434 microg/g lipid) than in the other three groups (CLBD 0.052 +/- 0.101 microg/g lipid; AD none detected; CON 0.125 +/- 0.195; all differences from PD significant at p < .05, Mann-Whitney U-test). Dieldrin (HEOD) was higher in PD brain than in AD or control brain, while 1,1'-(2,2-dichloroethenyl diene)-bis(4-chlorobenzene) (p,p-DDE) and total Aroclor-matched polychlorinated biphenyls (matched PCBs) were only higher in PD substantia nigra when these concentrations were compared with those of CLBD. These findings are not inconsistent with the hypothesis derived from epidemiological work and animal studies that organochlorine insecticides produce a direct toxic action on the dopaminergic tracts of the substantia nigra and may contribute to the development of PD in those rendered susceptible by virtue of cytochrome P-450 polymorphism, excessive exposure, or other factors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / etiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene / analysis
  • Dieldrin / analysis
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis*
  • Hexachlorocyclohexane / analysis
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / analysis*
  • Lewy Body Disease / etiology*
  • Parkinson Disease / etiology*
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / analysis
  • Substantia Nigra / chemistry*


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Insecticides
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene
  • Hexachlorocyclohexane
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls
  • Dieldrin