Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Aluminium in brain tissue in familial Alzheimer's disease

Aluminium in brain tissue in familial Alzheimer's disease Thumbnail


The genetic predispositions which describe a diagnosis of familial Alzheimer’s disease can be considered as cornerstones of the amyloid cascade hypothesis. Essentially they place the expression and metabolism of the amyloid precursor protein as the main tenet of disease aetiology. However, we do not know the cause of Alzheimer’s disease and environmental factors may yet be shown to contribute towards its onset and progression. One such environmental factor is human exposure to aluminium and aluminium has been shown to be present in brain tissue in sporadic Alzheimer’s disease. We have made the first ever measurements of aluminium in brain tissue from 12 donors diagnosed with familial Alzheimer’s disease. The concentrations of aluminium were extremely high, for example, there were values in excess of 10 µg/g tissue dry wt. in 5 of the 12 individuals. Overall, the concentrations were higher than all previous measurements of brain aluminium except cases of known aluminium-induced encephalopathy. We have supported our quantitative analyses using a novel method of aluminium-selective fluorescence microscopy to visualise aluminium in all lobes of every brain investigated. The unique quantitative data and the stunning images of aluminium in familial Alzheimer’s disease brain tissue raise the spectre of aluminium’s role in this devastating disease.


(2016). Aluminium in brain tissue in familial Alzheimer's disease. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, 30 - 36.

Acceptance Date Dec 7, 2016
Publication Date Dec 9, 2016
Journal Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology
Print ISSN 0946-672X
Publisher Elsevier
Pages 30 - 36
Keywords Human exposure to aluminium, Human brain tissue, Familial Alzheimer's disease, Transversely heated graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry, Aluminium-selective fluorescence microscopy
Publisher URL


Downloadable Citations