The goal of the UCLA-CGEP is to investigate the hypothesis that the cellular mechanisms of action identified for Putative Environmental Toxicants (PETs) contribute to a significant increase in PD risk;this project will focus on investigations in humans. Our group identified specific cellular mechanisms that are affected by PETs: the proteasome, microtubule integrity, and aldehyde dehydrogenase detoxification. In conjunction with altered VMAT function/expression that influences dopamine balance, these pathways may affect the vulnerability of DA neurons to neurodegeneration. We propose to use our existing data from the Parkinson Environment Gene (PEG) study to test biological candidate genes and PETs for association with PD. We have enrolled nearly 400 PD patients and 400 population controls from California's Central Valley. Each individual has been assessed for pesticide exposure based on records mandated by state law, and patients have been examined by a UCLA Movement Disorder neurologist, thus, we have a unique resource of well characterized PD subjects and controls with exceptional data for exposure to specific agricultural pesticides. To detect associations for rarer pesticides and genetic variants acting in the hypothesized biological pathways and to investigate gene-gene (GxG) and gene-environment (GxE) interactions with sufficient power, we propose to recruit and collect biological (DMA) samples from 400 additional population controls as a quick and cost-effective way to increase sample size and power.
Our specific aims are to test the hypotheses that 1) environmental pesticides targeting the same cellular systems as the previously identified PETs also increase PD risk;2) variants of genes (assessed via putative functional and haplotype tagging SNPs) in cellular pathways affected by PETs increase PD risk. Secondarily, we will a) test GxE and GxG interactions (including VMAT) to determine whether variants of the candidate genes selected interact with PETs and/or other genes to modulate PD risk in humans;b) retest genetic and GxG interaction associations in a replication cohort. Genes selected for initial investigation in this project have been determined by data~ on pathways and genes from our basic science projects (projects 1-3). Genetic investigations in later years of this project will be driven by the initial results of projects 1-3 in this center. In turn, the findings from gene and PET investigations in this human study will feedback and help develop hypotheses to be tested in the other projects.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Research Program Projects (P01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZES1)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of California Los Angeles
Los Angeles
United States
Zip Code
Kusters, Cynthia D J; Paul, Kimberly C; Guella, Ilaria et al. (2018) Dopamine receptors and BDNF-haplotypes predict dyskinesia in Parkinson's disease. Parkinsonism Relat Disord 47:39-44
Paul, Kimberly C; Sinsheimer, Janet S; Cockburn, Myles et al. (2018) NFE2L2, PPARGC1?, and pesticides and Parkinson's disease risk and progression. Mech Ageing Dev 173:1-8
Chen, Honglei; Ritz, Beate (2018) The Search for Environmental Causes of Parkinson's Disease: Moving Forward. J Parkinsons Dis 8:S9-S17
Richter, Franziska; Subramaniam, Sudhakar R; Magen, Iddo et al. (2017) A Molecular Tweezer Ameliorates Motor Deficits in Mice Overexpressing ?-Synuclein. Neurotherapeutics 14:1107-1119
Sanders, Laurie H; Paul, Kimberly C; Howlett, Evan H et al. (2017) Editor's Highlight: Base Excision Repair Variants and Pesticide Exposure Increase Parkinson's Disease Risk. Toxicol Sci 158:188-198
Aguilar, Jenny I; Dunn, Matthew; Mingote, Susana et al. (2017) Neuronal Depolarization Drives Increased Dopamine Synaptic Vesicle Loading via VGLUT. Neuron 95:1074-1088.e7
Paul, Kimberly C; Sinsheimer, Janet S; Cockburn, Myles et al. (2017) Organophosphate pesticides and PON1 L55M in Parkinson's disease progression. Environ Int 107:75-81
Chuang, Yu-Hsuan; Paul, Kimberly C; Bronstein, Jeff M et al. (2017) Parkinson's disease is associated with DNA methylation levels in human blood and saliva. Genome Med 9:76
Richter, Franziska; Gabby, Lauryn; McDowell, Kimberly A et al. (2017) Effects of decreased dopamine transporter levels on nigrostriatal neurons and paraquat/maneb toxicity in mice. Neurobiol Aging 51:54-66
Narayan, Shilpa; Liew, Zeyan; Bronstein, Jeff M et al. (2017) Occupational pesticide use and Parkinson's disease in the Parkinson Environment Gene (PEG) study. Environ Int 107:266-273

Showing the most recent 10 out of 78 publications