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Abstract

Elevated iron levels, enhanced oxidative damage, and complex I deficiency have been identified in the substantia nigra of Parkinson's disease patients. To understand the interrelationship of these abnormalities, we analyzed iron levels, ferritin levels, and complex I activity in the substantia nigra of patients with Parkinson's disease. Total iron levels were increased significantly, ferritin levels were unchanged, and complex I activities were decreased significantly in the substantia nigra samples. The failure of ferritin levels to increase with elevated iron concentrations suggests that the amount of reactive iron may increase in the substantia nigra of Parkinson's disease patients. There was no correlation between the iron levels and complex I activity or the iron-ferritin ratio and complex I activity in the substantia nigra samples.