Iron and inflammation: in vivo and post-mortem studies in Parkinson’s disease

Antonio Martin-Bastida*, Bension Shlomo Tilley, Sukhi Bansal, Steve M. Gentleman, David T. Dexter, Roberta J. Ward

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


In these present studies, in vivo and and post-mortem studies have investigated the association between iron and inflammation. Early-stage Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients, of less than 5 years disease duration, showed associations of plasmatic ferritin concentrations with both proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 and hepcidin, a regulator of iron metabolism as well as clinical measures. In addition ratios of plasmatic ferritin and iron accumulation in deep grey matter nuclei assessed with relaxometry T2* inversely correlated with disease severity and duration of PD. On the hand, post-mortem material of the substantia nigra compacta (SNc) divided according to Braak and Braak scores, III–IV and V–VI staging, exhibited comparable microgliosis, with a variety of phenotypes present. There was an association between the intensity of microgliosis and iron accumulation as assayed by Perl’s staining in the SNc sections. In conclusion, markers of inflammation and iron metabolism in both systemic and brain systems are closely linked in PD, thus offering a potential biomarker for progression of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-25
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Cytokines
  • Ferritin
  • Hepcidin
  • Interleukin-6
  • Iron accumulation
  • Microglia
  • Neurodegeneration


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