Is neurodegenerative disease a long-latency response to early-life genotoxin exposure?

Glen E. Kisby, Peter S. Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Western Pacific amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and parkinsonism-dementia complex, a disappearing neurodegenerative disease linked to use of the neurotoxic cycad plant for food and/or medicine, is intensively studied because the neuropathology (tauopathy) is similar to that of Alzheimer's disease. Cycads contain neurotoxic and genotoxic principles, notably cycasin and methylazoxymethanol, the latter sharing chemical relations with nitrosamines, which are derived from nitrates and nitrites in preserved meats and fertilizers, and also used in the rubber and leather industries. This review includes new data that influence understanding of the neurobiological actions of cycad and related genotoxins and the putative mechanisms by which they might trigger neurodegenerative disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3889-3921
Number of pages33
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2011


  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Cycad
  • Dna damage
  • Formaldehyde
  • Guam
  • Methylazoxymethanol (MAM)
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • Nitrosamines
  • Parkinsonism-dementia
  • Tauopathy
  • β-n-methylamino-l-alanine (L-BMAA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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