CAROL & MIKE WERNER / VISUALS UNLIMITED, INC. / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CAROL & MIKE WERNER / VISUALS UNLIMITED, INC. / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Illustration of environmental toxins and Parkinson's disease. Environmental toxins such as the herbicide Paraquat (upper left), the pesticide Rotenone (lower right) and the neurotoxin MPTP (lower left) are lipophilic and can cross the blood-brain barrier and enter dopaminergic neurons. They can disrupt mitochondria activity including damaging the mitochondrial genome, producing severe levels of oxidative stress that cause necrosis. The damage causes ATP depletion, preventing controlled apoptotic death and causing the cell to simply fall apart. Decreased mitochondrial efficiency is known to increase free radical production by mitochondria. This is believed to increase the levels of oxidation and nitration of proteins, including parkin and the proteosomal.
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