Aluminum as a toxicant

Toxicol Ind Health. 2002 Aug;18(7):309-20. doi: 10.1191/0748233702th157oa.


Although aluminum is the most abundant metal in nature, it has no known biological function. However, it is known that there is a causal role for aluminum in dialysis encephalopathy, microcytic anemia, and osteomalacia. Aluminum has also been proposed to play a role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) even though this issue is controversial. The exact mechanism of aluminum toxicity is not known but accumulating evidence suggests that the metal can potentiate oxidative and inflammatory events, eventually leading to tissue damage. This review encompasses the general toxicology of aluminum with emphasis on the potential mechanisms by which it may accelerate the progression of chronic age-related neurodegenerative disorders.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum / chemistry
  • Aluminum / pharmacokinetics
  • Aluminum / toxicity*
  • Alzheimer Disease / chemically induced
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / chemically induced
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / metabolism
  • Anemia, Macrocytic / chemically induced
  • Anemia, Macrocytic / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Environmental Pollutants / pharmacokinetics
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / chemically induced
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism
  • Osteomalacia / chemically induced
  • Osteomalacia / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Aluminum