The role of iron in Alzheimer’s disease
Lead investigators: Dr Joanna Collingwood
Institution: Keele University
Grant type: Fellowship
Grant amount: £120,283
Start date: April 2003
Completion date: June 2006
Scientific title: Examining the role of anomalous iron concentrations in Alzheimer's disease, and their implications for early detection and diagnosis
What was the project, and what did the researchers do?
Iron is essential to the brain, but accumulates along with zinc, aluminium and copper in the protein clumps called 'senile plaques', which are a hallmark of an Alzheimer's disease brain. There are two forms of iron: a toxic form, ferrous iron; and a safer form, ferric iron. The researchers developed new imagery techniques to examine the effect of different forms of iron in the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease.
What were the key results, and how will this help in the fight against dementia?
The new imagery techniques called synchrotron technique and electron tomography showed that magnetite (a cluster of predominantly ferrous iron) specifically accumulates in the Alzheimer's disease brain accompanied by a modification of a protein called ferritin. These findings could be used as a basis for brain scans to give an early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, or for drugs designed to remove iron.
What happened next? Future work and additional grants.
Future work was supported by a grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
How were people told about the results? Conferences and Publications
- Oral Presentation at Systems Analysis, Data Mining and Optimization in Biomedicine 2005
- Oral Presentation at International Conference on Fine Particle Magnetism 2004
- Poster presentations at International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease 2006
- Poster presentations International Conference on Fine Particle Magnetism 2004
- Poster presentation International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease 2004
- House E et al, (2004), 'Aluminium, iron, zinc and copper influence the in vitro formation of amyloid fibrils of A beta(42) in a manner which may have consequences for metal chelation therapy in Alzheimer's disease', Journal of Alzheimers Disease 6(3):291-301 PMID: 15201484
- Collingwood JF, (2005), 'In situ characterization and mapping of iron compounds in Alzheimer's disease tissue', Journal of Alzheimers Disease 7(4):267-272 PMID: 16131727
- Collingwood J, Dobson J, (2006), 'Mapping and characterization of iron compounds in Alzheimer's tissue', Journal of Alzheimers Disease 10(2-3):215-222 PMID: 17119289
- Gossuin Y, (2005), 'Looking for biogenic magnetite in brain ferritin using NMR relaxometry' NMR in Biomedicine 18(7):469-472 PMID: 16177954
- Oakley AE, (2007), 'Individual dopaminergic neurons show raised iron levels in Parkinson disease', Neurology 68(21):1820-1825 PMID: 17515544
Read about past research projects and their outcomes
Read Dr Collingwood's biography
Read about Dr Collingwood's current research into diagnosis of Alzheimer's
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