New insights into the understanding of the changes induced in the iron domain of neuromelanin (NM) upon development of Parkinson's disease (PD) have been gained by electron paramagnetic spectroscopy (EPR). The results of this study are compared with a previously reported variable temperature analysis of X-band EPR spectra of a NM specimen obtained from control brain tissues. The availability of high sensitivity instruments operating in the Q-band (34.4 GHz) allows us to deal with the low amounts of NM available from PD brains. The organization of iron in NM is in the form of polynuclear superparamagnetic/antiferromagnetic aggregates, but the lack of one or more signals in the EPR spectra of NM from PD suggests that the development of the pathology causes NM to decrease its ability to bind iron. Furthermore, the detection of the Mn(II) signal in the Q-band spectra is exploited as an additional internal probe to assess minor structural differences in iron domains of PD and control NM specimens.
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