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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 581256, 9 pages
Review Article

Nigral Iron Elevation Is an Invariable Feature of Parkinson’s Disease and Is a Sufficient Cause of Neurodegeneration

The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Kenneth Myer Building at Genetics Lane on Royal Parade, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia

Received 30 April 2013; Accepted 28 October 2013; Published 16 January 2014

Academic Editor: Maha Zaki Rizk

Copyright © 2014 Scott Ayton and Peng Lei. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor deficits accompanying degeneration of substantia nigra pars compactor (SNc) neurons. Although familial forms of the disease exist, the cause of sporadic PD is unknown. Symptomatic treatments are available for PD, but there are no disease modifying therapies. While the neurodegenerative processes in PD may be multifactorial, this paper will review the evidence that prooxidant iron elevation in the SNc is an invariable feature of sporadic and familial PD forms, participates in the disease mechanism, and presents as a tractable target for a disease modifying therapy.