Iron plays a role for the biogenesis of two important redox-reactive prosthetic groups of enzymes, iron sulphur clusters (ISC) and heme. A part of these biosynthetic pathways takes plays in the mitochondria. While several important proteins of cellular iron uptake and storage and of mitochondrial iron metabolism are well-characterized, limited knowledge exists regarding the mitochondrial iron importers (mitoferrins). A disturbed distribution of iron, hampered Fe-dependent biosynthetic pathways and eventually oxidative stress resulting from an increased labile iron pool are suggested to play a role in several neurodegenerative diseases. Friedreich's ataxia is associated with mitochondrial iron accumulation and hampered ISC/heme biogenesis due to reduced frataxin expression, thus representing a monogenic mitochondrial disorder, which is clearly elicited solely by a disturbed iron metabolism. Less clear are the controversially discussed impacts of iron dysregulation and iron-dependent oxidative stress in the most common neurodegenerative disorders, i.e. Alzheimer′s disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD). Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) may be viewed as a disease offering a better support for a direct link between iron, oxidative stress and regional neurodegeneration. Alltogether, despite significant progress in molecular knowledge, the true impact of iron on the sporadic forms of AD, PD and ALS is still uncertain. Here we summarize the current knowledge of iron metabolism disturbances in neurodegenerative disorders.
via Juan Carlos Baiges at Friedreich Ataxia Scientific News