, Volume 189, Issue 1-3, pp 31-37
Date: 31 Mar 2009

Iron in the brain

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The results of our studies of iron in three brain structures, substantia nigra (SN), globus pallidus (GP), and hippocampus (Hip), are presented. Mössbauer spectroscopy, electron microscopy and ELISA (enzyme-linked immuno-absorbent assay) were applied. Mössbauer studies show that most of the iron in the brain is ferritin-like. The concentration of iron is similar in SN and GP, but less than half of this in Hip. ELISA studies showed that the H/L ratio of ferritin in SN and GP is also similar, but is about three times higher in Hip. These results suggest that the role of iron in SN and GP may be different from that in Hip. Electron microscopy shows that the diameters of the ferritin iron cores in the brain are smaller that in the liver (3.5 ± 0.5 nm vs. 6.0 ± 0.5 nm). Mössbauer studies yield the ratio between the concentration of iron in control and parkinsonian SN as 1.00 ± 0.13.