Background: Dietary fat intake may modify Parkinson's disease (PD) risk directly or by altering the response to environmental neurotoxicants including pesticides.
Methods: We conducted a case-control study of PD nested in the Agricultural Health Study (AHS), a cohort of pesticide applicators and spouses. We evaluated diet and pesticide use before diagnosis in 89 PD cases, confirmed by movement disorder specialists, or a corresponding date in 336 frequency-matched controls. Associations were evaluated using multivariate logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Results: In the AHS, PD was inversely associated with N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) (OR 0.4, 95% CI 0.2-0.8 for highest vs. lowest tertile) and the N-3 precursor α-linolenic acid (0.4, 0.2-0.8). In a meta-analysis of nine studies, including the present one, PD was inversely associated with α-linolenic acid (0.81, 0.68-0.96). In the AHS, associations of PD with the pesticides paraquat and rotenone were modified by fat intake. The OR for paraquat was 4.2 (1.5-12) in individuals with PUFA intake below the median but 1.2 (0.4-3.4) in those with higher intake (p-interaction = 0.10). The OR for rotenone was 5.8 (2.3-15) in those with saturated fat intake above the median but 1.5 (0.5-4.2) in those with lower intake (p-interaction = 0.02).
Conclusions: PUFA intake was consistently associated with lower PD risk, and dietary fats modified the association of PD risk with pesticide exposure. If confirmed, these findings suggest that a diet high in PUFAs and low in saturated fats might reduce risk of PD.
Keywords: Dietary fat; Parkinson's disease; Pesticides; Polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.