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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2006, Article ID 27601, 8 pages
Research Article

Parkinson's Disease in Relation to Pesticide Exposure and Nuclear Encoded Mitochondrial Complex I Gene Variants

1Center for Demographic Studies, Duke University, 2117 Campus Drive, PO Box 90408, Durham, NC 27708-0408, USA
2Eskitis Institute for Cell and Molecular Therapies, Griffith University, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia

Received 1 December 2005; Revised 28 March 2006; Accepted 17 April 2006

Copyright © 2006 Elizabeth H. Corder and George D. Mellick. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common age-related neurodegenerative disorder thought to result from the integrated effects of genetic background and exposure to neuronal toxins. Certain individual nuclear-encoded mitochondrial complex I gene polymorphisms were found to be associated with 2-fold risk variation in an Australian case-control sample. We further characterized this sample of 306 cases and 321 controls to determine the mutual information contained in the 22 SNPs and, additionally, level of pesticide exposure: five distinct risk sets were identified using grade-of-membership analysis. Of these, one was robust to pesticide exposure (I), three were vulnerable (II, III, IV), and another (V) denoted low risk for unexposed persons. Risk for individual subjects varied >16-fold according to level of membership in the vulnerable groups. We conclude that inherited variation in mitochondrial complex I genes and pesticide exposure together modulate risk for PD.