The potential role of iron chelators in the treatment of Parkinson's disease and related neurological disorders

Pharmacol Toxicol. 1997 Apr;80(4):159-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0773.1997.tb00390.x.


Neurodegeneration is characterized by a marked accumulation of iron in the affected brain regions. The reason for this is still unknown. In this article we review the available data on the possible involvement of iron and mediated oxidative stress in the aetiology of Parkinson's disease and related disorders. Iron chelators, if they effectively prevent radical formation, have great therapeutic potential against ischaemia/reperfusion, rheumatoid arthritis, and anthracycline toxicity, which are most likely free radical-mediated. The efficacy of the best established chelating drug desferal in neurodegenerative disease is limited due to its high cerebro- and oculotoxicity. New bioactive chelating agents are currently being developed, among them are oxidative stress activatable iron chelators which are most likely less toxic and can flexibly respond to an increase of free radical formation in the cell.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Basal Ganglia Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Basal Ganglia Diseases / metabolism
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Free Radicals / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Iron Chelating Agents / metabolism
  • Iron Chelating Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Nerve Degeneration
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy*
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism


  • Free Radicals
  • Iron Chelating Agents
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Iron