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Abstract #0188

Iron-induced relaxation mechanisms in the human substantia nigra: towards quantifying iron load in dopaminergic neurons

Malte David Brammerloh1,2, Isabel Weigelt3, Thomas Arendt3, Filippos Gavriilidis2, Nico Scherf2, Steffen Jankuhn4, Markus Morawski3, Nikolaus Weiskopf2, and Evgeniya Kirilina2

1Faculty of Physics and Earth Sciences, Leipzig University, Leipzig, Germany, 2Department of Neurophysics, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany, 3Paul Flechsig Institute of Brain Research, Leipzig, Germany, 4Felix Bloch Institute for Solid State Physics, Leipzig University, Leipzig, Germany

Pathological iron accumulation in the human brain is a biomarker for neurodegeneration. Several diagnostically promising MR-based methods for in vivo iron quantification were proposed, based on the empirical relationship between R2* and iron concentration. However, these do not account for different chemical forms and cellular distribution of iron. We combined post mortem MRI, advanced quantitative histology and biophysical modeling to develop a generative theory linking obtained iron concentrations to quantitative MR parameters. The impact of nanoscale molecular interaction of water with iron and of iron-rich dopaminergic neurons was quantified in substantia nigra.

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