Oxidative stress: a role in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease

  • M. E. Götz
  • A. Freyberger
  • P. Riederer
Part of the Journal of Neural Transmission book series (NEURAL SUPPL, volume 29)


The degeneration of nigro-striatal dopaminergic neurons is considered to be a predominant pathogenetic factor of Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, the etiology of this degeneration is not known. Hypotheses assume accumulation of endogenous and/or exogenous toxins as trigger of the disease. An increase in the concentration of free radicals has been suggested to be toxic to cells, especially when combined with certain metals like free iron or copper. The role of melanin in the degenerative process is not clear, but autoxidative reactions such as the oxidation of dopamine (DA) to melanin generating radicals and toxic metabolites seem to enhance the vulnerability of neurons in the substantia nigra (SN). Disappearance of melanin in the SN, increase of total iron and ferric iron, extreme decrease of glutathione (GSH) levels, reduced activity of enzymes involved in the detoxification of hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl and superoxide radicals (peroxidases, catalase, glutathione peroxidase), an increase of monoamine oxidase B (MAO B) activity and the substantial increase of malondialdehyde, a marker of lipid peroxidation, in the SN seem to indicate a role of an oxidative stress syndrome in the SN causing or aggravating PD.


Tyrosine Hydroxylase Substantia Nigra Monoamine Oxidase Locus Coeruleus Lipoic Acid 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. E. Götz
    • 1
  • A. Freyberger
    • 1
  • P. Riederer
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Klinische NeurochemieUniversitäts-Nervenklinik WürzburgWürzburgFederal Republic of Germany
  2. 2.Klinische NeurochemieUniversitäts-Nervenklinik WürzburgWürzburgFederal Republic of Germany

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