Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Separating The Brain's 'Bad' From 'Good' Iron

Date:
August 25, 2007
Source:
Duke University
Summary:
Chemists are developing ways to bind up iron in the brain to combat the neurological devastation of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. The key is to weed out potentially destructive forms of iron that generate harmful free radicals while leaving benign forms of iron alone to carry out vital functions in the body.

Duke University chemists are developing ways to bind up iron in the brain to combat the neurological devastation of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. The key is to weed out potentially destructive forms of iron that generate harmful free radicals while leaving benign forms of iron alone to carry out vital functions in the body.

"Using existing chelating (metal-binding) molecules to target iron in the brain can be tricky," said Katherine Franz, an assistant chemistry professor at Duke, because iron is essential to the body. "We want to go after only the iron that is causing the damage. We don't want to pull the iron out of healthy sites."

On Aug. 23, during the American Chemical Society's August 2007 national meeting in Boston, Franz will describe her work with graduate student Louise Charkoudian to formulate sensitive chemical sentinels they call "pro-chelators." Those are metal-binding agents wrapped in chemical "cages" so they can enter the brain and wait in reserve until they encounter a site of potential damage.

Such a site contains both iron and the molecule hydrogen peroxide. The reaction between these two players -- known as a "Fenton reaction" -- can lead to the production of a highly reactive oxygen-containing chemical group called a hydroxyl radical, Franz said.

These toxic chemical radicals can cause oxidative stress in brain cells that has been associated with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's as well as other age-related maladies such as macular degeneration in the eyes, she said.

The pro-chelators that Franz will describe at the ACS meeting contain phenols that wear chemical "masks" around themselves to keep them from binding with benign forms of iron or other metals, such as those found in some essential enzymes. But the presence of excessive amounts of hydrogen peroxide will trigger an unmasking, allowing the phenols to sop up and inactivate the bad iron, she said.

Franz and Charkoudian described their first formula for a pro-chelator in a report printed in the Sept. 27, 2006, issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. The work is being supported by the Parkinson's Disease Foundation and Duke University.

Franz's Aug. 23 talk at the society's latest national meeting will concentrate on a second generation of pro-chelator compounds that are better tailored in both sensitivity and response time to the brain's chemical environment, she said.

A report on those newer compounds is also pending in the journal Dalton Transactions and includes contributions by post-doctoral associate David Pham and Duke undergraduate students Ashley Kwon and Abbey Vangeloff.

While their previous experiments have been in laboratory glassware, the Duke pair has now begun working with living cells.

"That work looks promising," Franz said. "It looks like we're seeing iron binding only when we increase the levels of hydrogen peroxide. This level of peroxide normally kills cells, but we are seeing cell survival with the pro-chelators, so we're very excited."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Duke University. "Separating The Brain's 'Bad' From 'Good' Iron." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070823083702.htm>.
Duke University. (2007, August 25). Separating The Brain's 'Bad' From 'Good' Iron. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070823083702.htm
Duke University. "Separating The Brain's 'Bad' From 'Good' Iron." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070823083702.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

AP (July 29, 2014) The U.S. nuclear industry started building its first new plants using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and prevent the cost overruns that crippled the sector decades ago. So far, it's not working. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lithium Battery 'Holy Grail' Could Provide 4 Times The Power

Lithium Battery 'Holy Grail' Could Provide 4 Times The Power

Newsy (July 28, 2014) Stanford University published its findings for a "pure" lithium ion battery that could have our everyday devices and electric cars running longer. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins