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Mexico City (MC) young residents are exposed to high levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), have high frontal concentrations of combustion-derived nanoparticles (CDNPs), accumulation of hyperphosphorylated aggregated α-synuclein (α-Syn) and early Parkinson's disease (PD). Swallowed CDNPs have easy access to epithelium and submucosa, damaging gastrointestinal (GI) barrier integrity and accessing the enteric nervous system (ENS). This study is focused on the ENS, vagus nerves and GI barrier in young MC v clean air controls. Electron microscopy of epithelial, endothelial and neural cells and immunoreactivity of stomach and vagus to phosphorylated ɑ-synuclein Ser129 and Hyperphosphorylated-Tau (Htau) were evaluated and CDNPs measured in ENS. CDNPs were abundant in erythrocytes, unmyelinated submucosal, perivascular and intramuscular nerve fibers, ganglionic neurons and vagus nerves and associated with organelle pathology. ɑSyn and Htau were present in 25/27 MC gastric,15/26 vagus and 18/27 gastric and 2/26 vagus samples respectively. We strongly suggest CDNPs are penetrating and damaging the GI barrier and reaching preganglionic parasympathetic fibers and the vagus nerve. This work highlights the potential role of CDNPs in the neuroenteric hyperphosphorylated ɑ-Syn and tau pathology as seen in Parkinson and Alzheimer's diseases. Highly oxidative, ubiquitous CDNPs constitute a biologically plausible path into Parkinson's and Alzheimer's pathogenesis.

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This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. © 2017, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives 4.0 license. . The final, definitive version of this document can be found online at Environmental Research, doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2017.08.008