Low levels of aluminum can lead to behavioral and morphological changes associated with Alzheimer's disease and age-related neurodegeneration

Neurotoxicology. 2016 Jan;52:222-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2015.12.002. Epub 2015 Dec 12.

Abstract

Aluminum (Al) is a very common component of the earth's mineral composition. It is not essential element for life and is a constituent of rather inert minerals. Therefore, it has often been regarded as not presenting a significant health hazard. As a result, aluminum-containing agents been used in the preparation of many foodstuffs processing steps and also in elimination of particulate organic matter from water. More recently, the reduced pH of bodies of water resulting from acid rain has led to mobilization of aluminum-containing minerals into a more soluble form, and these have thus entered residential drinking water resources. By this means, the body burden of aluminum in humans has increased. Epidemiological and experimental findings indicate that aluminum is not as harmless as was previously thought, and that aluminum may contribute to the inception and advancement of Alzheimer's disease. Epidemiological data is reinforced by indications that aluminum exposure can result in excess inflammatory activity within the brain. Activation of the immune system not initiated by an infectious agent, typifies the aging brain and is even more augmented in several neurodegenerative diseases. The origin of most age-related neurological disorders is generally not known but as they are largely not of genetic derivation, their development is likely triggered by unknown environmental factors. There is a growing and consistent body of evidence that points to aluminum as being one such significant influence. Evidence is presented that reinforces the likelihood that aluminum is a factor speeding the rate of brain aging. Such acceleration would inevitably enlarge the incidence of age-related neurological diseases.

Keywords: Aluminum toxicity; Brain senescence; Neuroinflammation; Neurological disease; Oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / drug effects*
  • Aging / pathology*
  • Aluminum / administration & dosage
  • Aluminum / toxicity*
  • Alzheimer Disease / chemically induced
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / pathology
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / pathology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / psychology

Substances

  • Aluminum