The Cerebellum

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 74–79 | Cite as

Iron, Copper, and Zinc Distribution of the Cerebellum

  • Bogdan F. Gh. Popescu
  • Christopher A. Robinson
  • Alex Rajput
  • Ali H. Rajput
  • Sheri L. Harder
  • Helen NicholEmail author


Synchrotron rapid-scanning X-ray fluorescence (RS-XRF) is employed for the first time to simultaneously map iron, copper, and zinc in the normal cerebellum. The cerebellum is a major repository of metals that are essential to normal function. Therefore, mapping the normal metal distribution is an important first step towards understanding how multiple metals may induce oxidative damage, protein aggregation, and neurotoxicity leading to cerebellar degeneration in a wide range of diseases. We found that cerebellar white and grey matter could be sharply defined based upon the unique metal content of each region. The dentate nucleus was particularly metal-rich with copper localized to the periphery and iron and zinc abundant centrally. We discuss how RS-XRF metal mapping in the normal brain may yield important clues to the mechanisms of degeneration in the dentate nucleus.


Iron Copper Zinc Cerebellum X-ray fluorescence Dentate nucleus 



We thank Martin George and Uwe Bergmann of SSRL for development of RS-XRF. B.P. is supported by a Dean’s scholarship from the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Saskatchewan. This work was supported by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (ROP # 58337) to HN. Research on Parkinson’s Disease is supported by funding from the Regina Curling Classic, the Saskatchewan Parkinson’s Disease Foundation to A.R. Additional support came from a Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation Research Group Facilitation Grant, SHRF #1639. Human tissue was obtained from the NICHD Brain and Tissue Bank for Developmental Disorders under contracts N01-HD-4-3368 and N01-HD-$-3383. Portions of this research were carried out at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, a national user facility operated by Stanford University on behalf of the US Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences. The SSRL Structural Molecular Biology Program is supported by the Department of Energy, Office of Biological and Environmental Research, and by the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Research Resources, Biomedical Technology Program.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bogdan F. Gh. Popescu
    • 1
  • Christopher A. Robinson
    • 2
  • Alex Rajput
    • 3
  • Ali H. Rajput
    • 3
  • Sheri L. Harder
    • 4
  • Helen Nichol
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, College of MedicineUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Saskatoon Health Region/College of MedicineUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  3. 3.Division of Neurology, College of MedicineUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  4. 4.Department of RadiologyLoma Linda University Medical CenterLoma LindaUSA

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