Journal of Undergraduate Research


methamphetamine-induced melanization, dopamine cell culture, diseases


Family, Home, and Social Sciences




Dopamine (DA) neurons are at the core of many highly-researched diseases. Dopaminergic neuronal degeneration has been linked to oxidative stress, a state that occurs when high levels of normally-occurring reactive oxidative species (ROS) are formed. Depending on the location of such degradation, the result could be either Parkinson’s disease or the very common state of addiction and withdrawal.

Neuromelanin is a dark polymer pigment found on some catecholaminergic neurons and contains a stable radical that is able to inactivate ROS and possibly protect DA neurons from degradation. The mechanism for spontaneous melanization is unknown, but an understanding of this process and how it can combat sources of oxidative stress could help researchers learn how to protect the body against diseases that result in loss of DA neurons.

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