Implications of metal exposure and liver function in Parkinsonian patients resident in the vicinities of ferroalloy plants

Rosanna Squitti, G. Gorgone, V. Panetta, R. Lucchini, S. Bucossi, E. Albini, L. Alessio, A. Alberici, J. M. Melgari, L. Benussi, G. Binetti, P. M. Rossini, F. Draicchio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Valcamonica is an Italian valley where ferro-manganese industries have been active for a century and where an increased prevalence of parkinsonism was observed. A group of 93 patients (65 from Valcamonica, 28 from the reference area of Brescia city) and 76 controls (52 from Valcamonica, 24 from Brescia) were screened for serum Cu, Zn, Fe, Mn in blood (MnB) and urine (MnU), transferrin, peroxides, alanine (ALT) and aspartate (AST) transaminases and direct bilirubin. Test results were compared among groups according to the residential area and related to the disease severity. Valcamonica patients had a serum-increase of Cu, as well as of AST/ALT ratio, and a serum-decrease of Zn and Fe compared with other subgroups of cases and controls. Cases and controls from Valcamonica had higher MnB and MnU levels compared to cases and controls from Brescia. After controlling for the duration of illness, the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale III domain correlated with serum Cu and AST/ALT ratio. Our results suggest the possibility that, in this area, a lifetime exposure to neurotoxicants and to Mn in particular, when accompanied to a subclinical liver dysfunction, may pose an increased risk for neurodegenerative disorders via metal metabolism (Cu, Zn, Fe) abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1281-1287
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


  • Environmental pollution
  • Liver function
  • Metals
  • Oxidative stress
  • Parkinsonism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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