Environmental toxins and Parkinson's disease

Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol. 2014;54:141-64. doi: 10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-011613-135937. Epub 2013 Sep 16.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive, disabling neurodegenerative disorder that begins in mid to late life and is characterized by motor impairment, autonomic dysfunction, and, in many, psychological and cognitive changes. Recent advances have helped delineate pathogenetic mechanisms, yet the cause of PD in most individuals is unknown. Although at least 15 genes and genetic loci have been associated with PD, identified genetic causes are responsible for only a few percent of cases. Epidemiologic studies have found increased risk of PD associated with exposure to environmental toxicants such as pesticides, solvents, metals, and other pollutants, and many of these compounds recapitulate PD pathology in animal models. This review summarizes the environmental toxicology of PD, highlighting the consistency of observations across cellular, animal, and human studies of PD pathogenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution / adverse effects
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Gene-Environment Interaction
  • Hazardous Substances / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Metals, Heavy / toxicity
  • Parkinson Disease / epidemiology*
  • Parkinson Disease / etiology
  • Parkinson Disease / genetics
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology*
  • Pesticides / toxicity
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / toxicity
  • Solvents / toxicity


  • Hazardous Substances
  • Metals, Heavy
  • Pesticides
  • Solvents
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls