Pesticide in plant protection products identified as a trigger of Parkinson's
Researchers have long suspected additional external environmental influences and factors that significantly increase the risk of Parkinson's disease. Scientists at the Clinic and Polyclinic for Neurology under the direction of Prof. Heinz Reichmann from the University Clinic Carl Gustav Carus and the Institute for Anatomy at the Medical Faculty Carl Gustav Carus in Dresden have found out, based on extensive research, that a special pesticide for pest control in agriculture contributes significantly to the development of Parkinson's and can increase existing patient complaints. The verifiable results were achieved in animal experiments, but a transfer to humans is quite conceivable.
The neurologists and medical experts have decoded the insecticide Rotenon as the cause. According to the research results, this can trigger symptoms of Parkinson's and exacerbate them. Here, “nerve connections between the intestine and brain play an essential role,” as the scientists write in the study report in the “Nature Scientific Reports”.
Parkinson's progress is slow and steady
Around three percent of people in Germany have Parkinson's. People of advanced age are affected above all by the degenerative disease. Parkinson's progress is slow and is particularly noticeable through trembling hands, rigid muscles, an almost mask-like facial expression and muscle tremors (medical: tremor). Shaking and often even shaking hands are the main symptom of the neurological disorder. Muscle tremors are caused by the death of nerve cells in individual regions of the midbrain (substantia nigra). As a result, those affected suffer from a lack of dopamine, which is why patients are given dopamine therapeutically as a compensation.
Often affected by agriculture
Older studies have repeatedly pointed out the striking aspect that people who work in agriculture in particular are more likely to develop Parkinson's. In medical circles, precisely this finding led to the assumption that external environmental influences play an important role in the development of the disease. It was obvious that pesticides are responsible for this. For this reason, the researchers examined the effects and mechanisms of pesticides all the more intensely. In the studies, the researchers finally came across the pesticide Rotenone.
In some states, the active ingredient Ronoton is approved as an insecticide. As the study showed, the substance causes "nerve cells in the intestinal tract to release the protein alpha-synuclein". This protein is then taken up by the ends of the nerves of the nerve cells in the brain and transported further to the cell body. Alpha-synuclein is deposited in these cell bodies and causes cell destruction. In the experiment with mice, the researchers cut through the special nerves in the intestine that connect the digestive tract and the brain. After the nerves had been severed, the process described no longer took place. For example, the named proteins “could no longer reach the neurons of the midbrain and the similar symptoms of Parkinson's disease were greatly reduced,” as the researchers write in a message.
So far, this relationship has only been observed in mice. However, it can be assumed that this would be similar in humans. "If this is also confirmed in Parkinson's patients, then we have taken an important step in order to develop new approaches for early diagnosis and therapeutic strategies against the disease in the future," said study leader Francisco Pan-Montojo from the Dresden Institute of Anatomy. Further studies on this topic will follow. (sb)
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