Parkinson’s is known to be a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that often impairs the sufferer’s motor skills, speech, and other functions. Particularly among men it has now been seemingly linked to genetic modifications and workplace exposure to some insecticides. A study conducted by Fabien Dutheil, Ph.D., of Université Paris Descartes, Assistance-Publique Hôpitaux de Paris, and colleagues assessed participants for two known ABCB1 polymorphisms while detailed information on lifelong pesticide use was also collected for professional users.

Expert’s examined 207 individuals with Parkinson’s disease and 482 matched controls. They were divided into three groups namely non-users, users for gardening and professional users of pesticide. The authors reveal that Parkinson’s diagnosis is likely to be multifactorial, and environmental factors as well as their contact with susceptibility genes are known to add to the disease. Prolonged exposure to certain pesticides including organochlorines such as DDT develops the disease and this is done through damaged neurons that produce neurotransmitter dopamine.

“If environmental chemicals can increase Parkinson’s disease risk, host factors that contribute to variability in their uptake, metabolism and distribution in the body may modulate individual risk,” the authors write. “Genetic polymorphisms of xenobiotic [compounds not naturally found in the body] metabolizing enzymes may act as susceptibility factors.”

The gene ABCB1 may encode the production of compounds essential to this process. It was observed that overall ABCB1 polymorphisms were not linked with disease risk. Further analysis revealed that 101 men with the disease and 234 matched controls relation between organochlorine insecticide exposure and Parkinson’s disease was about 3.5 times stronger. This was particularly observed in men who carried two variant alleles as compared to those men who were not carriers.

Experts conclude that organochlorine insecticides may interrelate with ABCB1 in determining the risk of Parkinson’s disease. This was revealed on the basis of biological hypothesis. They further share that these findings support the assumptions of gene x pesticide connections in Parkinson’s disease.

This study is according to a report in the June issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.