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Antioxid Redox Signal. 2014 Jul 10;21(2):195-210. doi: 10.1089/ars.2013.5593. Epub 2014 Feb 6.

Targeting chelatable iron as a therapeutic modality in Parkinson's disease.

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1 Department of Medical Pharmacology, Faculté de Médecine Lille2, Lille Nord de France University , CHU Lille, Lille, France .



The pathophysiological role of iron in Parkinson's disease (PD) was assessed by a chelation strategy aimed at reducing oxidative damage associated with regional iron deposition without affecting circulating metals. Translational cell and animal models provided concept proofs and a delayed-start (DS) treatment paradigm, the basis for preliminary clinical assessments.


For translational studies, we assessed the effect of oxidative insults in mice systemically prechelated with deferiprone (DFP) by following motor functions, striatal dopamine (HPLC and MRI-PET), and brain iron deposition (relaxation-R2*-MRI) aided by spectroscopic measurements of neuronal labile iron (with fluorescence-sensitive iron sensors) and oxidative damage by markers of protein, lipid, and DNA modification. DFP significantly reduced labile iron and biological damage in oxidation-stressed cells and animals, improving motor functions while raising striatal dopamine. For a pilot, double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial, early-stage Parkinson's patients on stabilized dopamine regimens enrolled in a 12-month single-center study with DFP (30 mg/kg/day). Based on a 6-month DS paradigm, early-start patients (n=19) compared to DS patients (n=18) (37/40 completed) responded significantly earlier and sustainably to treatment in both substantia nigra iron deposits (R2* MRI) and Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale motor indicators of disease progression (p<0.03 and p<0.04, respectively). Apart from three rapidly resolved neutropenia cases, safety was maintained throughout the trial.


A moderate iron chelation regimen that avoids changes in systemic iron levels may constitute a novel therapeutic modality for PD.


The therapeutic features of a chelation modality established in translational models and in pilot clinical trials warrant comprehensive evaluation of symptomatic and/or disease-modifying potential of chelation in PD.


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