Brain iron, along with dopamine, "causes oxidative stress, inflammation, and neurodegeneration," Dr Franthal explained. "Past studies have proved there is a significantly higher iron deposition in substantia nigra in Parkinson's compared to healthy controls." So for the current study, "our objective was to investigate longitudinal changes in nigral iron concentration in PD compared with other tremor syndromes."
The researchers enrolled 32 patients with PD and 15 age-matched patients with ND-TS, and they used R2* relaxometry to determine levels of nigral iron in the two groups.
They found that R2* values were significantly higher in both the substantia nigra pars compacta and pars reticulata regions for patients with PD than in those with ND-TS.