Iron storage and transport markers in Parkinson’s disease and MPTP-treated mice

  • D. C. Mash
  • J. Singer
  • J. Pablo
  • M. Basile
  • J. Bruce
  • W. J. Weiner
Conference paper
Part of the Key Topics in Brain Research book series (KEYTOPICS)


The regulation of neuronal iron is necessary for the synthesis of iron containing cytochromes and to prevent damage from free radicals by iron-oxygen interactions. We have shown that transferrin receptors are elevated over the substantia nigra in the human and rat brain (Mash et al., 1990) and are depleted concomitantly with dopaminergic terminals in the MPTP-treated mouse striatum (Mash et al., 1991). Given the iron dependency for both synthetic and degradative enzyme activities, dopaminergic neurons may express transferrin receptors on their cell surface to facilitate the uptake of iron bound to transferrin. If the intracellular iron pool is regulated by receptor-mediated transferrin uptake, then an up-regulation of transferrin receptor number may play a role in the pathogenesis of nigral cell damage in Parkinson’s disease. Early in the disease process, surviving dopaminergic neurons may increase the number of transferrin receptors in order to meet the increased metabolic demand associated with compensatory changes in dopamine synthesis and turnover. The uptake of ferrotransferrin by dopaminergic neurons may result in a progressive elevation in the cellular iron load that exceeds the regulatory capacity for increased ferritin expression in the aging brain.


Substantia Nigra Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Iron Storage Transferrin Receptor Brain Iron 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. C. Mash
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. Singer
    • 1
  • J. Pablo
    • 1
  • M. Basile
    • 1
  • J. Bruce
    • 3
  • W. J. Weiner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyUniversity of Miami School of MedicineMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Department of Molecular and Cellular PharmacologyUniversity of Miami School of MedicineMiamiUSA
  3. 3.Department of PathologyUniversity of Miami School of MedicineMiamiUSA

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