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Individual dopaminergic neurons show raised iron levels in Parkinson disease

Lookup NU author(s): Arthur Oakley, Professor Jim Edwardson, Dr Matthias Elstner, Dr Christopher Morris


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OBJECTIVE: Evidence suggests that abnormal iron metabolism is associated with Parkinson disease (PD), with raised iron levels found in pathologically affected areas in PD. It is unknown if this elevated iron is actually associated with neurons or reactive glia, and we therefore addressed this issue by determining if raised iron was present in single dopaminergic neurons. METHODS: We used unfixed frozen sections from postmortem tissue of PD patients and elderly normal individuals to avoid metal contamination and translocation. Levels of iron and other elements were measured using sensitive and specific wavelength dispersive electron probe x-ray microanalysis coupled with cathodoluminescence spectroscopy in individual substantia nigra dopaminergic neurons. RESULTS: We identified raised intraneuronal iron in single defined substantia nigra neurons in PD (mean neuronal iron 2,838 vs 1,611, p < 0.0001) but not in other movement disorders such as Huntington disease. These findings were unrelated to the density of remaining neurons. CONCLUSIONS: Primary changes in neuronal iron could lead to neurodegeneration in Parkinson disease. ©2007AAN Enterprises, Inc.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Oakley AE, Collingwood JF, Dobson J, Love G, Perrott HR, Edwardson JA, Elstner M, Morris CM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Neurology

Year: 2007

Volume: 68

Issue: 21

Pages: 1820-1825

ISSN (print): 0028-3878

ISSN (electronic): 1526-632X

Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins


DOI: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000262033.01945.9a

PubMed id: 17515544


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Funder referenceFunder name
R01 AG02030-01NIA NIH HHS