Neurotoxicity of the parkinson disease-associated pesticide ziram is synuclein-dependent in zebrafish embryos

Aaron Lulla, Lisa Barnhill, Gal Bitan, Magdalena I. Ivanova, Binh Nguyen, Kelley O’Donnell, Mark C. Stahl, Chase Yamashiro, Frank Gerrit Klärner, Thomas Schrader, Alvaro Sagasti, Jeff M. Bronstein

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Abstract

Background: Exposure to the commonly used dithiocarbamate (DTC) pesticides is associated with an increased risk of developing Parkinson disease (PD), although the mechanisms by which they exert their toxicity are not completely understood. Objective: We studied the mechanisms of ziram’s (a DTC fungicide) neurotoxicity in vivo. Methods: Zebrafish (ZF) embryos were utilized to determine ziram’s effects on behavior, neuronal toxicity, and the role of synuclein in its toxicity. Results: Nanomolar-range concentrations of ziram caused selective loss of dopaminergic (DA) neurons and impaired swimming behavior. Because ziram increases α-synuclein (α-syn) concentrations in rat primary neuronal cultures, we investigated the effect of ziram on ZF γ-synuclein 1 (γ1). ZF express 3 synuclein isoforms, and ZF γ1 appears to be the closest functional homologue to α-syn. We found that recombinant ZF γ1 formed fibrils in vitro, and overexpression of ZF γ1 in ZF embryos led to the formation of neuronal aggregates and neurotoxicity in a manner similar to that of α-syn. Importantly, knockdown of ZF γ1 with morpholinos and disruption of oligomers with the molecular tweezer CLR01 prevented ziram’s DA toxicity. Conclusions: These data show that ziram is selectively toxic to DA neurons in vivo, and this toxicity is synuclein-dependent. These findings have important implications for understanding the mechanisms by which pesticides may cause PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1766-1775
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
Volume124
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this

Lulla, A., Barnhill, L., Bitan, G., Ivanova, M. I., Nguyen, B., O’Donnell, K., ... Bronstein, J. M. (2016). Neurotoxicity of the parkinson disease-associated pesticide ziram is synuclein-dependent in zebrafish embryos. Environmental health perspectives, 124(11), 1766-1775. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP141