Structure and Function of Neuromelanin

  • Shosuke Ito
  • Kazumasa Wakamatsu
  • Luigi Zecca
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 53)


Why is the structure of neuromelanin important? It has been known for many years that neuromelanin is present in the dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra and may be associated with the pathogenesis of nigral cell death in the Parkinson’s disease. Recently, it was shown that the vulnerability of the dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson’s disease is related to their high neuromelanin content in the substantia nigra. Dopamine is suggested to be a major precursor of neuromelanin. However, direct evidence to support this assumption is scarce. This lack of knowledge in the structure of neuromelanin hampered studies on its biological function and possible role in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease.


Substantia Nigra Dopaminergic Neuron Dicarboxylic Acid Pigment Cell Melanin Pigment 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shosuke Ito
    • 1
  • Kazumasa Wakamatsu
    • 1
  • Luigi Zecca
    • 2
  1. 1.Fujita Health University School of Health SciencesToyoake, AichiJapan
  2. 2.Institute of Advanced Biomedical TechnologiesCNRSegrateItaly

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