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The role of iron in the CNS

Iron is essential in many metabolic processes in the CNS, including oxidative phosphorylation, myelin synthesis, neurotransmitter production such as dopamine and serotonin, and nitric oxide metabolism. Iron also acts as a cofactor for tyrosine hydroxylase. This enzyme has a necessary role in dopamine synthesis, and inhibiting its activity can damage the function and viability of neural cells. Thus, iron is an essential factor for the proper function of neurons. CNS is more sensitive to oxidative stress because enzymes responsible for removing free radicles, including catalase, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione peroxidase, have less activity in the brain. Due to the ability of iron to produce ROS, excess iron within the brain can be more dangerous than other tissues. In addition, increased iron level in the brain suppresses occludin expression. Given the role of occluding, a protein of tight junction, in the BBB, reducing its expression may disturb the function of BBB and thus damage the brain. Although iron is essential for many metabolic processes, excess iron can be toxic to the brain. Therefore, any change in iron level may be dangerous for the health of humans. There are some inherited neurodegenerative diseases, including neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation, Aceruloplasminemia, and Neuroferritinopathy, which are associated with iron accumulation in specific areas—such as Substantia nigra (Sn)—of the brain.

Patients with these diseases show symptoms of Parkinson's. Also, animal models of Parkinson, created in the laboratory by treatment with 6-OHDA, indicate an increased iron level in the Sn. These facts demonstrate a relationship between iron accumulation and neurodegenerative diseases. Parallel with iron accumulation, it has been observed a reduction of Tau and amyloid precursor protein (APP) levels within the brain of Parkinson's patients. Tau and APP are involved in iron export from the cell; APP stabilizes ferroportin on the cell membrane, and Tau interacts with APP to facilitate iron export. This proposes a disruption in regulating iron levels within the brain, which can contribute to the accumulation of iron in PD. If you are looking for high quality, high purity, and cost-effective Iron oxide, or if you require the latest price, please feel free to email contact mis-asia.

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