Metals and Parkinson's Disease: Mechanisms and Biochemical Processes

Curr Med Chem. 2018;25(19):2198-2214. doi: 10.2174/0929867325666171129124616.


Genetic background accounts for only 5 to 10% of the reported cases of Parkinson's disease (PD), while the remaining cases are of unknown etiology. It is believed that environmental factors may be involved in the causality of a large proportion of PD cases. Several PD genes are activated by xenobiotic exposure, and a link between pesticide exposure and PD has been demonstrated. Many epidemiological studies have shown an association between PD and exposure to metals such as mercury, lead, manganese, copper, iron, aluminum, bismuth, thallium, and zinc. This review explores the biological effects, the pathogenetic processes, genetic susceptibilities to metals as well as examining future strategies for PD treatment, such as chelation therapy.

Keywords: Substantia nigra; alpha-synuclein; beta-amyloid; dopamine; glutamate; glutathione; metals; oxidative stress..

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amyloidogenic Proteins / metabolism
  • Chelation Therapy
  • Dopaminergic Neurons / drug effects
  • Drug Synergism
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Metals, Heavy / metabolism
  • Metals, Heavy / toxicity*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Parkinson Disease / epidemiology*
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy
  • Selenoproteins / metabolism
  • alpha-Synuclein / metabolism


  • Amyloidogenic Proteins
  • Metals, Heavy
  • Selenoproteins
  • alpha-Synuclein
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Glutathione