Melanin - Its Possible Implications For Beta Cells...

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I was now absolutely convinced that iron and insulin played a role in mental illnesses such as autism, schizophrenia and Alzheimer's.   Knowing that persons with darker skin (producing more melanin) were more susceptible to diabetes, I decided to look a little further into the possible melanin/diabetes/iron link.   

Again, note that science has known for a long time that insulin and iron were somehow linked as indicated by the medical eponym for Hanot-Chauffard syndrome (Troisier-Hanot-Chauffard syndrome).   Note also the role of melanin in Hanot-Chauffard syndrome. 

I found this short abstract rather interesting... because it involved iron, melanin and what appears to be beta cells (as well as dopamine... which we know is an issue in schizophrenia)... 

I quote: 

"The most conspicuous feature in idiopathic parkinsonism is the degeneration of pigmented neurons in the substantia nigra. A major problem for the study of the significance of neuromelanin for the development of parkinsonism is that common experimental animals lack neuromelanin in substantia nigra. The aim of this study was to develop an in vitro model that could be used to study the role of neuromelanin in chemically induced toxicity in dopaminergic cells. Cultured neuron-like PC12 cells were exposed to synthetic dopamine melanin (0-1.0 mg/ml) for 48 h, resulting in uptake of dopamine melanin particles into the cells. The intracellular distribution of dopamine melanin granules was similar to that found in neuromelanin-containing neurons. Dopamine melanin, up to 0.5 mg/ml, had negligible effects on ultrastructure, induction of the endoplasmic reticulum-stress protein glucose regulating protein 78, activation of caspase-3 and cell viability. The decreased cell viability in response to the cytotoxic peptide amyloid-beta25-35 was similar in melanin-loaded cells and in control cells without melanin. The results of the studies suggest that melanin-loaded PC12 cells can serve as an in vitro model for studies on the role of neuromelanin for the toxicity of chemicals, in particular neurotoxicants with melanin affinity, in pigmented neurons." [end of quote, Ostergren, A., Svensson, A.L., Lindquist, N.G., Brittebo, E.B.,  Dopamine melanin-loaded PC12 cells: a model for studies on pigmented neurons, Pigment Cell Research, Volume 18 Issue 4 Page 306, August 2005, ].

I may not be a scientist, but I know there are many out there who are... and this seems to tell me that melanin may play a role in what we see and in susceptibility to certain toxicities... and I suspect that may very well include metal toxicity.    The "neurotoxicants with melanin affinity" is rather intriguing given more blacks develop diabetes... which then skyrockets a person's chances of getting Alzheimer's. 

There are some who consider amyloid "a problem"... others, like Dr. Glenda Bishop, who see it as potentially part of the solution, perhaps playing a role in protecting the brain from oxidative stress due to things like iron ... and thus, to attempt to "remove plaques" via "Alzheimer's vaccines", drugs, etc., may indeed only make matters worse!  

For more on this issue, please refer to:

Bishop, G., Robinson, S.R.,   The Amyloid Paradox:  Amyloid - β- Metal Complexes That Can Be Neurotoxic And Neuroprotective,


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