Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a very common neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the accumulation of α-synuclein (α-syn) into Lewy body (LB) inclusions and the loss of neuronmelanin (NM) containing dopamine (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra (SN). Pathological α-syn and NM are two prominent hallmarks in this selective and progressive neurodegenerative disease. Pathological α-syn can induce dopaminergic neuron death by various mechanisms, such as inducing oxidative stress and inhibiting protein degradation systems. Therefore, to explore the factors that trigger α-syn to convert from a non-toxic protein to toxic one is a pivotal question to clarify the mechanisms of PD pathogenesis. Many triggers for pathological α-syn aggregation have been identified, including missense mutations in the α-syn gene, higher concentration, and posttranslational modifications of α-Syn. Recently, the role of NM in inducing α-syn expression and aggregation has been suggested as a mechanism for this pigment to modulate neuronal vulnerability in PD. NM may be responsible for PD and age-associated increase and aggregation in α-syn. Here, we reviewed our previous study and other recent findings in the area of interaction between NM and α-syn.
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