, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 371–386 | Cite as

Iron in chronic brain disorders: Imaging and neurotherapeutic implications

  • James Stankiewicz
  • S. Scott Panter
  • Mohit Neema
  • Ashish Arora
  • Courtney E. Batt
  • Rohit Bakshi


Iron is important for brain oxygen transport, electron transfer, neurotransmitter synthesis, and myelin production. Though iron deposition has been observed in the brain with normal aging, increased iron has also been shown in many chronic neurological disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. In vitro studies have demonstrated that excessive iron can lead to free radical production, which can promote neurotoxicity. However, the link between observed iron deposition and pathological processes underlying various diseases of the brain is not well understood. It is not known whether excessive in vivo iron directly contributes to tissue damage or is solely an epiphenomenon. In this article, we focus on the imaging of brain iron and the underlying physiology and metabolism relating to iron deposition. We conclude with a discussion of the potential implications of iron-related toxicity to neurotherapeutic development.

Key Words

Iron neurodegeneration MRI chelation Alzheimer’s disease Parkinson’s disease multiple sclerosis 


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Copyright information

© Springer New York 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Stankiewicz
    • 1
  • S. Scott Panter
    • 3
  • Mohit Neema
    • 1
  • Ashish Arora
    • 1
  • Courtney E. Batt
    • 1
  • Rohit Bakshi
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyBrigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBoston
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyBrigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBoston
  3. 3.Department of Neurological SurgeryVeteran’s Administration Hospital, University of CaliforniaSan Francisco

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