Some fundamental questions concerning structures and functions of melanins, including neuromelanin, have been attacked. New approaches were developed and applied to investigations on the structures of melanins by nondestructive methods. This led to the identification of novel structural elements and a revised mechanism of biosynthesis. Furthermore, new insights into the mechanisms of action of important neurotoxins were gained.
The work is of particular significance for future investigations on the molecular aspects of Parkinson's disease (PD) in connection with the role of neuromelanin (NM). PD is a neurological disorder affecting primarily the elderly. It is estimated that in Europe approximately 20 to 30 out of 1000 of those over the age of 60 will develop the symptoms of Parkinsonism. In coming years, PD will probably even become more frequent because of the general increase of human life span. Thus, Parkinsonism is an increasing public health problem, and the enormous social and economical impact of PD is quite obvious.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts