Diesel exhaust fumes may increase the risk of Parkinson’s, study suggests

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Author: Sophie BatesPublished: 28 May 2020

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diesel exhaust fumes

A new study by researchers in the US has found evidence that chemicals in diesel exhaust fumes can damage brain cells – and potentially increase the risk of Parkinson’s.

As part of the study – published in ‘Toxicological Sciences’ – researchers tested the effects of diesel exhaust fumes on zebrafish, as their neurons interact in a similar way to those of humans.

The researchers found that after being exposed to the chemicals, the zebrafish had fewer cells that dispose of toxic build-up of the protein alpha-synuclein, which occurs in Parkinson’s. The researchers replicated the experiment with cultured human cells and found similar results.

Dr Jeff Bronstein, a professor of neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), US, said: “Overall, this report shows a plausible mechanism of why air pollution may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease.”

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