The Laser Microprobe Mass Analyzer (LAMMA) is a sensitive instrument for identifying and localizing trace elements in tissue samples. Using LAMMA, we have examined melanin-containing neurons of the substantia nigra in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and controls. We found that iron significantly accumulates within neuromelanin granules of patients with PD compared to controls. Increased aluminum was found in the neuromelanin granules of 2 of 3 PD cases but in no controls. The accumulation of iron and aluminum, which are known to promote oxidant stress, may account for the selective degeneration of neuromelanin-containing neurons in PD.
- Laser Microprobe Mass Analyzer
- Oxidant stress
- Parkinson's disease