Iron regulation of dopaminergic transmission: relevance to movement disorders

  • D. Ben-Shachar
  • A. Tovi
  • M. B. H. Youdim
Conference paper
Part of the Key Topics in Brain Research book series (KEYTOPICS)


Dopamine has been implicated in many central and peripheral functions, among which are motor control, cognitive, affective and neuroendocrine functions. We suggest that iron plays a crucial role in the dopamine system, being essential for the normal functioning of several components in the metabolism and transmission of dopamine. In 6-hydroxydopamine treated rats, which serve as an animal model of Parkinson’s disease, chelation of iron by desferrioxamine retarded the degeneration, expressed both biochemically and behaviorally, of the nigrostriatal dopamine neurons. Moreover, introducing iron into the substantia nigra of the rat induced parkinsonian-like biochemical and behavioral responses. Long term neuroleptic treatment in schizophrenia, which is associated with extrapyramidal motor side effects, the most severe of which is tardive dyskinesia, caused in rats dopamine supersensitivity, which could be regulated by iron supplementation or deprivation. This was accompanied by a significant transport of iron into the brain which is normally very limited. In addition there was a definite correlation between the ability of the neuroleptic drug to induce iron transport into the brain and its ability to induce extrapyramidal severe motor side effects. The significance of brain iron homeostasis to dopamine normal motor and biochemical function in animal models is argued.


Iron Deficiency Tardive Dyskinesia Dopaminergic Transmission Iron Regulation Nigrostriatal Dopamine Neuron 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Ben-Shachar
    • 2
  • A. Tovi
    • 1
  • M. B. H. Youdim
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of MedicineTechnionHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of MedicineTechnionHaifaIsrael

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