Hydrazine-related chemicals (HRCs) with carcinogenic and neurotoxic potential are found in certain mushrooms and plants used for food and in products employed in various industries, including aerospace. Their propensity to induce DNA damage (mostly O6-, N7- and 8-oxo-guanine lesions) resulting in multiple downstream effects is linked with both cancer and neurological disease. For cycling cells, unrepaired DNA damage leads to mutation and uncontrolled mitosis. By contrast, postmitotic neurons attempt to re-enter the cell cycle but undergo apoptosis or nonapoptotic cell death. Biomarkers of exposure to HRCs can be used to explore whether these substances are risk factors for sporadic amyotrophic laterals sclerosis and other noninherited neurodegenerative diseases, which is the focus of this paper.
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