Paul-Flechsig-Institut für Hirnforschung
 Universitätsmedizin Leipzig

Quantification and subcellular localisation of iron in the substantia nigra in Parkinson's disease

Iron plays due to its versatile function a key role in cell viability. In contrast, high concentrations of free iron raise the level of oxidative stress within the cell via the Fenton-Haber-Weiss-reaction and promote the formation of toxic radicals. Resulting reactive species lead ultimately to cell death.

Therefore, iron plays a fundamental role in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson´s disease (PD). It is well known that the iron concentration is increased in the Substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) in Parkinson´s disease (PD). By contrast, there is only little knowledge about the cellular distribution and quantitative iron concentrations in the different cell types such as microglia, astroglia or oligodendroglia (myelin).

This project aims at examining the cellular and subcellular localization as well as the concentration of iron in the main cell types in the nigrosom 1 of the SNpc in post mortem brain tissue of patients with PD and healthy age-matched controls. Therefore, human brainstem is marked immunohistochemically for different cellular markers (antibodies against neurone, microglia, astroglia, oligodendroglia and myelin with nickel-diaminobenzidine-enhancement).
Additionally, histochemical methods like Perls and Turnbull stain were performed in order to identify the cellular localization of non-chelated Fe2+ - and Fe3+ - ions.
Furthermore, a differential quantitative analysis of iron by ion beam microscopy (PIXE, Particle Induced X-Ray emission) represents one of the main purposes of this project. Therefore, PIXE method can be combined with classic immunohistochemistry. The ultrapure nickel (Ni-DAB-enhancement) may be used as a respecting cell marker and offers hereby an immense variety of cellular and subcellular markers in order to determine the localization and concentration of iron in requested cell types and subcellular fractions.

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last update: 11.06.2020, 13:04 Uhr
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Paul-Flechsig-Institut für Hirnforschung