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Genetic Profile, Environmental Exposure, and their Interaction in Parkinson’s Disease
The discovery of causative mutations for Parkinson’s disease (PD) as well as their functional characterization in cellular and animal models has provided crucial insight into the pathogenesis of this disorder. Today, we know that PD pathogenesis involves multiple related processes including mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative and nitrative stress, microglial activation and inflammation, and aggregation of α-synuclein and impaired autophagy. However, with the exception of a few families with Mendelian inheritance, the cause of PD in most individuals is yet unknown and the identified genetic susceptibility factors have only small effect size. Epidemiologic studies have found increased risk of PD associated with exposure to environmental toxicants such as pesticides, organic solvents, metals, and air pollutants, while reduced risk of PD associated with smoking cigarettes and coffee consumption. The role of environmental exposure, as well as the contribution of single genetic risk factors, is still controversial. In most of PD cases, disease onset is probably triggered by a complex interplay of many genetic and nongenetic factors, each of which conveys a minor increase in the risk of disease. This review summarizes the current knowledge on causal mutation for PD, susceptibility factors increasing disease risk, and the genetic factors that modify the impact of environmental exposure.
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