The dialysis encephalopathy syndrome. Possible aluminum intoxication

N Engl J Med. 1976 Jan 22;294(4):184-8. doi: 10.1056/NEJM197601222940402.


The aluminum content of muscle, bone and brain was measured in control subjects and in uremic patients on dialysis who had been maintained on phosphate-binding aluminum gels. The mean muscle aluminum was 14.8 ppm, and the trabecular-bone aluminum 98.5 ppm in the patients on dialysis, as compared with 1.2 and 2.4 in control subjects (P less than 0.05). Brain gray-matter aluminum values in a group of uremic patients on dialysis who died of a neurologic syndrome of unknown cause were 25 ppm as compared with 6.5 ppm in a group of uremic patients on dialysis who died of other causes and 2.2 ppm in control subjects. The fact that brain gray-matter aluminum was higher in all patients with the dialysis-associated encephalopathy syndrome than any of the control subjects or other uremic patients on dialysis suggests that this syndrome may be due to aluminum in intoxication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum / metabolism
  • Aluminum / toxicity*
  • Aluminum Hydroxide / adverse effects
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Humans
  • Muscles / metabolism
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects*
  • Syndrome
  • Time Factors
  • Uremia / complications
  • Uremia / metabolism
  • Uremia / therapy


  • Aluminum Hydroxide
  • Aluminum