Early insight into the potential contribution of aluminum to neurodegeneration - A tribute to the research work of Robert D. Terry, Igor Klatzo, Henryk M. Wisniewski and Donald R.C. Mclachlan

J Inorg Biochem. 2020 Feb:203:110860. doi: 10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2019.110860. Epub 2019 Sep 12.


The first successful attempt to obtain purified aluminum metal was accomplished by the Danish physicist and chemist Hans Christian Orsted in 1824, however it was not until about ~140 years later that aluminum's capacity for neurological disruption and neurotoxicity was convincingly established. The earliest evidence of the possible involvement of this biosphere-rich metallotoxin in Alzheimer's disease (AD) originated in the early-to-mid-1960's from animal and human research investigations that arose almost simultaneously from independent laboratories in the United States and Canada. This short communication pays tribute to the pioneering research work on aluminum in susceptible species, in AD animal models and in AD patients by the early investigators Drs. Robert D. Terry, Igor Klatzo and Henryk M. Wisniewski with special acknowledgement to the late Dr. Donald RC McLachlan, and their contemporary physician-scientist colleagues and collaborators. Together these researchers established the groundwork and foundation towards our understanding of the potential contribution of aluminum to progressive, age-related and lethal neurodegenerative diseases of the human central nervous system.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum / toxicity*
  • Alzheimer Disease / etiology
  • Amyloid / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Brain / pathology
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Neurofibrillary Tangles / drug effects
  • Neurosciences / history*
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / etiology*
  • Plaque, Amyloid / etiology
  • United States


  • Amyloid
  • Aluminum

Personal name as subject

  • Donald McLachlan
  • Igor Klatzo
  • Henryk Wisniewski
  • Robert Terry