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September 28th, 2007
Scientists spot sneaky 'neurodegenerative' iron at the European synchrotron
Scientists suspect that iron accumulation plays a role in neurodegenerative processes such as Parkinson's disease, but its distribution in neurons has never been observed because of the lack of techniques to do so. Until today.
Researchers from CNRS at the University of Bordeaux (France), University of Sevilla (Spain), INSERM Grenoble Institute of Neurosciences (France) and ESRF have studied the iron distribution in an in vitro model of neuronal cells that produce dopamine ("Iron Storage within Dopamine Neurovesicles Revealed by Chemical Nano-Imaging"). Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, a chemical messenger between nerve cells in the mammalian brain. Because dopamine can form stable complexes with iron, Richard Ortega, from the cellular chemical imaging group in Bordeaux, believed that dopamine may exert a protective effect by buffering iron in dopaminergic neurons and that this system might be at fault in Parkinson's disease.
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