Iron and dopamine: A toxic couple

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Journal Article
Brain, 2016, 139 (4), pp. 1026 - 1035
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© 2016 The Author (2016). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Guarantors of Brain. All rights reserved. Iron accumulation is a cardinal feature of degenerating regions in the Parkinson's disease brain. As a potent pro-oxidant, redox-active iron may be a key player in upstream mechanisms that precipitate cell death in this disorder. Although an elevation in brain iron levels is a normal feature of ageing, the increase is greater in Parkinson's disease; on the other hand, the effects of the disease are most marked in the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system. In this Update, we explain that neurodegeneration in the affected regions may result from the potent redox couple formed by iron and dopamine itself, and discuss the clinical implications of this molecular trait in this dynamic and rapidly moving area of Parkinson's disease research.
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