Human exposure to neurotoxic pollutants (e.g. metals, pesticides and other chemicals) is recognized as a key risk factor in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders. Emerging evidence indicates that an alteration in autophagic pathways may be correlated with the onset of the neurotoxicity resulting from chronic exposure to these pollutants. In fact, autophagy is a natural process that permits to preserving cell homeostasis, through the seizure and degradation of the cytosolic damaged elements. However, when an excessive level of intracellular damage is reached, the autophagic process may also induce cell death. A correct modulation of specific stages of autophagy is important to maintain the correct balance in the organism. In this review, we highlight the critical role that autophagy plays in neurotoxicity induced by the most common classes of environmental contaminants. The understanding of this mechanism may be helpful to discover a potential therapeutic strategy to reduce side effects induced by these compounds.
Environmental Pollution – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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