Microplastic Exposure and the of Parkinson’s Disease

The Effects of microplastics in the body and similarities to the pathogenesis of Parkinson's Disease


  • Lily Shapiro
  • Nicole Katchur Princeton University




microplastics, parkinson's disease, neurodegenerative diseases, dopamine


Microplastics (MPs) are small particles or fragments of plastic that have leaked into the environment and ecosystems in recent decades. Numerous animal studies have suggested that an organism’s exposure to microplastics may evoke responses from the body that are similar to the pathogenesis of human diseases. In particular, a collection of evidence has suggested that microplastics exposure may mimic Parkinson’s disease pathology (decreased dopaminergic neurons and interrupted motor function). Parkinson’s disease is an often progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disease that is defined by the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the brain; this degeneration leads to decreased motor function and abnormal motor movements. Studies have indicated that, upon entering the body, microplastics may trigger oxidative stress, organ inflammation, neurotoxicity, and transgenerational effects. Parkinson’s disease diagnoses are predicted to greatly increase in upcoming generations while microplastics continue to enter the environment at growing rates, inciting a point of concern for the human population and other organisms. In this review, the possible effects of organisms’ exposure to microplastics are explored through the review of animal studies and the comparison of these findings to the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease. By understanding the ways in which MPs affect the body and contribute to PD and other neurodegenerative disorders, the danger that MPs pose toward living organisms can be recognized, necessitate further research, and encourage preventative measures against the leakage of MPs into the environment.


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Author Biography

Nicole Katchur, Princeton University

M.D. / Ph.D. Candidate

Molecular Biology | Princeton University



How to Cite

Shapiro, L., & Katchur, N. (2023). Microplastic Exposure and the of Parkinson’s Disease: The Effects of microplastics in the body and similarities to the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s Disease. Journal of Student Research, 11(3). https://doi.org/10.47611/jsr.v11i3.1815



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