Pesticides are widely used in agricultural and other settings, resulting in continued human exposure. Pesticide toxicity has been clearly demonstrated to alter a variety of neurological functions. Particularly, there is strong evidence suggesting that pesticide exposure predisposes to neurodegenerative diseases. Epidemiological data have suggested a relationship between pesticide exposure and brain neurodegeneration. However, an increasing debate has aroused regarding this issue. Paraquat is a highly toxic quaternary nitrogen herbicide which has been largely studied as a model for Parkinson's disease providing valuable insight into the molecular mechanisms involved in the toxic effects of pesticides and their role in the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. In this work, we review the molecular mechanisms involved in the neurotoxic action of pesticides, with emphasis on the mechanisms associated with the induction of neuronal cell death by paraquat as a model for Parkinsonian neurodegeneration.