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Parkinson disease (PD) is a debilitating neurodegenerative motor disorder, with its motor symptoms largely attributable to loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. The causes of PD remain poorly understood, although environmental toxicants may play etiologic roles. Solvents are widespread neurotoxicants present in the workplace and ambient environment. Case reports of parkinsonism, including PD, have been associated with exposures to various solvents, most notably trichloroethylene (TCE). Animal toxicology studies have been conducted on various organic solvents, with some, including TCE, demonstrating potential for inducing nigral system damage. However, a confirmed animal model of solvent-induced PD has not been developed. Numerous epidemiologic studies have investigated potential links between solvents and PD, yielding mostly null or weak associations. An exception is a recent study of twins indicating possible etiologic relations with TCE and other chlorinated solvents, although findings were based on small numbers, and dose-response gradients were not observed. At present, there is no consistent evidence from either the toxicological or epidemiologic perspective that any specific solvent or class of solvents is a cause of PD. Future toxicological research that addresses mechanisms of nigral damage from TCE and its metabolites, with exposure routes and doses relevant to human exposures, is recommended. Improvements in epidemiologic research, especially with regard to quantitative characterization of long-term exposures to specific solvents, are needed to advance scientific knowledge on this topic. Crown Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Edward A Lock, Jing Zhang, Harvey Checkoway. Solvents and Parkinson disease: a systematic review of toxicological and epidemiological evidence. Toxicology and applied pharmacology. 2013 Feb 01;266(3):345-55

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PMID: 23220449

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