Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(8), 15286-15311; doi:10.3390/ijms140815286
Review

Exposure to Environmental Toxicants and Pathogenesis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: State of the Art and Research Perspectives

1 Department of Medical, Surgical, Neurological, Metabolic and Aging Sciences, Second University of Naples, Piazza Miraglia 2, Naples 80138, Italy 2 Neurological Institute for Diagnosis and Care "Hermitage Capodimonte", Via Cupa delle Tozzole 2, Naples 80131, Italy
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 April 2013; in revised form: 5 July 2013 / Accepted: 8 July 2013 / Published: 24 July 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research in Neurotoxicology)
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Abstract: There is a broad scientific consensus that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal neuromuscular disease, is caused by gene-environment interactions. In fact, given that only about 10% of all ALS diagnosis has a genetic basis, gene-environmental interaction may give account for the remaining percentage of cases. However, relatively little attention has been paid to environmental and lifestyle factors that may trigger the cascade of motor neuron degeneration leading to ALS, although exposure to chemicals—including lead and pesticides—agricultural environments, smoking, intense physical activity, trauma and electromagnetic fields have been associated with an increased risk of ALS. This review provides an overview of our current knowledge of potential toxic etiologies of ALS with emphasis on the role of cyanobacteria, heavy metals and pesticides as potential risk factors for developing ALS. We will summarize the most recent evidence from epidemiological studies and experimental findings from animal and cellular models, revealing that potential causal links between environmental toxicants and ALS pathogenesis have not been fully ascertained, thus justifying the need for further research.
Keywords: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; environmental toxicants; cyanobacteria; heavy metals; lead; methylmercury; selenium; pesticides; organophosphates; neurodegeneration

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MDPI and ACS Style

Trojsi, F.; Monsurrò, M.R.; Tedeschi, G. Exposure to Environmental Toxicants and Pathogenesis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: State of the Art and Research Perspectives. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14, 15286-15311.

AMA Style

Trojsi F, Monsurrò MR, Tedeschi G. Exposure to Environmental Toxicants and Pathogenesis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: State of the Art and Research Perspectives. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2013; 14(8):15286-15311.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Trojsi, Francesca; Monsurrò, Maria R.; Tedeschi, Gioacchino. 2013. "Exposure to Environmental Toxicants and Pathogenesis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: State of the Art and Research Perspectives." Int. J. Mol. Sci. 14, no. 8: 15286-15311.

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