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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Is neuromelanin changed in Parkinson's disease? Investigations by magnetic spectroscopies.

Human mesencephalic neuromelanin (NM) is characterized by an irregular, undefined structure, making its characterization by usual physico-chemical methodologies quite difficult. NM isolated from controls and from Parkinson's Disease (PD) patients was compared by high-resolution solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). The pigment from PD patients appeared to be mainly composed of highly cross-linked, protease-resistant lipo-proteic material, with disappearance of melanin NMR resonances, suggesting melanin breakout due to oxidative stress conditions. Moreover, alpha-synuclein was detected in NM of PD patients and controls after cleavage of the melanin backbone under solubilizing conditions.NM stores iron ions as oxyhydroxide iron clusters containing thousands of iron atoms. Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) investigations and magnetic susceptibility measurements confirmed the occurrence of magnetic coupling among iron atoms, whereas in synthetic melanin the occurrence of isolated Fe(3+) ions was evident. NM from PD patients showed a lower total magnetization, possibly suggesting a progressive Fe migration from its storage environment (i.e., NM) to the cytosol.[1]


  1. Is neuromelanin changed in Parkinson's disease? Investigations by magnetic spectroscopies. Fasano, M., Bergamasco, B., Lopiano, L. Journal of neural transmission (Vienna, Austria : 1996) (2006) [Pubmed]
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