PBPK/PD assessment for Parkinson’s disease risk posed by airborne pesticide paraquat exposure

Yi Hsien Cheng, Wei Chun Chou, Ying Fei Yang, Chi Wei Huang, Chun Ming How, Szu Chieh Chen, Wei Yu Chen, Nan Hung Hsieh, Yi Jun Lin, Shu Han You, Chung Min Liao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Exposure to several specific pesticides has led to an increase of Parkinson’s disease (PD) risk. However, it is difficult to quantify the PD population risk related to certain pesticides in regions where environmental exposure data are scarce. Furthermore, the time trend of the prevalence and incidence of PD embedded in the background relationship between PD risk and pesticide exposures has not been well characterized. It has been convincingly identified that a key pesticide associated significantly with an increased risk trend of PD is paraquat (PQ). Here, we present a novel, probabilistic population-based exposure-response approach to quantify the contribution from PQ exposure to prevalence risk of PD. We found that the largest PQ exposure contributions occurred in its positive trend during 2004–2011, with the PQ contributing nearly 21 and 24%, respectively, to the PD prevalence rates among the age groups of 70–79 and ≥ 80 years in Taiwan. We also employed the present population risk model to predict the PQ-induced PD prevalence based on the projected rates of increase in PQ exposure associated with age-specific population. The predicted outcome can be used as an early warning signal for public health authorities. We suggest that a mechanistic understanding of the contribution of a specific pesticide exposure to PD risk trends is crucial to enhance our insights into the perspective on the impacts of environmental exposure on the neurodegenerative diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5359-5368
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Paraquat
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Pesticide
  • Population exposure-response function
  • Probabilistic risk assessment


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