Hydrocarbon exposure and Parkinson's disease

G. Pezzoli, M. Canesi, A. Antonini, A. Righini, L. Perbellini, M. Barichella, C. B. Mariani, F. Tenconi, S. Tesei, A. Zecchinelli, K. L. Leenders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Single cases of parkinsonism have been associated with hydrocarbon solvents. Objective: To determine whether exposure to hydrocarbon solvents is related to PD. Methods: Cohort study of 990 patients with PD according to Core Assessment Program for Intracerebral Transplantations (CAPIT) criteria, selected from 1455 consecutive subjects presenting at a referral center; case-control study assessing Unified PD Rating Scale scores (motor score as primary endpoint) in all subjects with positive history of hydrocarbon solvent exposure (n = 188), matched for duration of disease and gender to 188 subjects selected from the remaining 802 with a negative history. Two subgroups in the case-control study included the following: 1) response to apomorphine (n = 26); 2) brain MRI (n = 15). PET imaging (n = 9) was compared with that of historic controls. Results: Exposed patients were younger (61.0 ± 9.4 versus 64.7 ± 9.4 years, p = 0.002), predominantly male (76.4% versus 45.2%, p = 0.0001), less educated (8.4 ± 4.2 versus 10.1 ± 4.4 years, p = 0.0001), and younger at onset of disease (55.2 ± 9.8 versus 58.6 ± 10 years, p = 0.014). Exposure to hydrocarbon solvents directly correlated to disease severity (r = 0.311) and inversely correlated to latency period (r = -0.252). Nine blue-collar occupations accounted for 91.1% of exposures. Conclusions: Occupations involving the use of hydrocarbon solvents are a risk factor for earlier onset of symptoms of PD and more severe disease throughout its course. Hydrocarbon solvents may be involved in the etiopathogenesis of PD, which does not have a major genetic component.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-673
Number of pages7
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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