International Journal of Molecular Sciences (Nov 2017)

Effects of Commonly Used Pesticides in China on the Mitochondria and Ubiquitin-Proteasome System in Parkinson’s Disease

  • Tingting Chen,
  • Jieqiong Tan,
  • Zhengqing Wan,
  • Yongyi Zou,
  • Henok Kessete Afewerky,
  • Zhuohua Zhang,
  • Tongmei Zhang

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 18, no. 12
p. 2507


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Evidence continues to accumulate that pesticides are the leading candidates of environmental toxins that may contribute to the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease. The mechanisms, however, remain largely unclear. According to epidemiological studies, we selected nine representative pesticides (paraquat, rotenone, chlorpyrifos, pendimethalin, endosulfan, fenpyroximate, tebufenpyrad, trichlorphon and carbaryl) which are commonly used in China and detected the effects of the pesticides on mitochondria and ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) function. Our results reveal that all the nine studied pesticides induce morphological changes of mitochondria at low concentrations. Paraquat, rotenone, chlorpyrifos, pendimethalin, endosulfan, fenpyroximate and tebufenpyrad induced mitochondria fragmentation. Furthermore, some of them (paraquat, rotenone, chlorpyrifos, fenpyroximate and tebufenpyrad) caused a significant dose-dependent decrease of intracellular ATP. Interestingly, these pesticides which induce mitochondria dysfunction also inhibit 26S and 20S proteasome activity. However, two out of the nine pesticides, namely trichlorphon and carbaryl, were found not to cause mitochondrial fragmentation or functional damage, nor inhibit the activity of the proteasome, which provides significant guidance for selection of pesticides in China. Moreover, our results demonstrate a potential link between inhibition of mitochondria and the UPS, and pesticide-induced Parkinsonism.