Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a devastating and debilitating neurodegenerative disease of unknown cause. A consensus suggests the involvement of both genetic and environmental factors of which the latter may involve human exposure to aluminium. There are no data on the content and distribution of aluminium in human brain tissue in MS. The aluminium content of brain tissue from 14 donors with a diagnosis of MS was determined by transversely heated graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry. The location of aluminium in the brain tissue of two donors was investigated by aluminium-specific fluorescence microscopy. The aluminium content of brain tissue in MS was universally high with many tissues bearing concentrations in excess of 10 μg/g dry wt. (10 ppm) and some exceeding 50 ppm. There were no statistically significant relationships between brain lobes, donor age or donor gender. Aluminium-specific fluorescence successfully identified aluminium in brain tissue in both intracellular and extracellular locations. The association of aluminium with corpora amylacea suggests a role for aluminium in neurodegeneration in MS.
Keywords: TH GFAAS; aluminium-specific fluorescence; human brain tissue; human exposure to aluminium; multiple sclerosis.