Aluminium-induced electrophysiological, biochemical and cognitive modifications in the hippocampus of aging rats

Neurotoxicology. 2008 Nov;29(6):1069-79. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2008.08.005. Epub 2008 Sep 5.


Aluminium (Al) is the most abundant metal known for its neurotoxicity in humans. It gains easy access to the central nervous system under normal physiological conditions and accumulates in different brain regions. It has been reported to be involved in the etiology of several neurodegenerative diseases. In this study, we have investigated the effects of long-term intake of aluminium chloride (AlCl(3)) on the electrophysiological, behavioral, biochemical and histochemical functions of hippocampus. Wistar rats were fed with AlCl(3) at a dose of 50mg/(kgday) for 6 months in the drinking water. Effect of long-term intake of Al was studied on the electrical activity of hippocampal CA1 and CA3 regions in brain of young and old rats. Morris water maze and open field tests were performed to investigate the cognitive and anxiety status of aging rats intoxicated with aluminium. Our studies indicate that aluminium intake results in increased multiple unit activity and adversely affect the spatial learning and memory abilities of both young and old rats. Aluminium intake also inflicts oxidative stress-related damage to lipids, membrane associated proteins (Na-K ATPase and PKC) and endogenous antioxidant enzyme activity (SOD, GPx and GST). The compromised antioxidant system might be playing a crucial role in the observed Al-induced alterations. We have observed that the magnitude of AlCl(3)-induced alteration was considerably higher in younger group of rats compared to older group. In conclusion, the results of the present study implicates that aluminium treatment exerts its neurotoxic effects by altering the overall physiology of brain, and the induced changes were strongly correlated with each other.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / metabolism
  • Action Potentials / drug effects*
  • Aging / drug effects*
  • Aluminum Chloride
  • Aluminum Compounds / administration & dosage*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Brain Chemistry / drug effects*
  • Cell Count / methods
  • Chlorides / administration & dosage*
  • Chlorides / metabolism
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Exploratory Behavior / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / drug effects*
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Protein Kinase C / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Spatial Behavior / drug effects


  • Acetates
  • Aluminum Compounds
  • Chlorides
  • Aluminum Chloride
  • Protein Kinase C
  • acetyl chloride