Nanoscale biogenic iron oxides and neurodegenerative disease

FEBS Lett. 2001 May 4;496(1):1-5. doi: 10.1016/s0014-5793(01)02386-9.


One of the characteristics of many neurodegenerative diseases is the disruption of normal iron homeostasis in the brain. Recent experimental work indicates that nanoscale magnetic biominerals (primarily magnetite and maghemite) may be associated with senile plaques and tau filaments found in brain tissue affected by these diseases. These findings have important implications for our understanding of the role of iron in neurodegenerative disease as well as profound implications for their causes. In addition, the presence of biogenic magnetite in affected tissue should also provide improved mechanisms for early detection through the modification of MRI pulse sequences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ferric Compounds / metabolism*
  • Ferritins / metabolism
  • Ferrosoferric Oxide
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnetics
  • Microscopy / methods
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / diagnosis
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism*
  • Oxides / metabolism
  • Particle Size
  • Plaque, Amyloid / metabolism
  • tau Proteins / metabolism


  • Ferric Compounds
  • Oxides
  • tau Proteins
  • ferric oxide
  • Ferritins
  • Iron
  • Ferrosoferric Oxide