Professor in Bioinorganic Chemistry
Aluminium and Silicon Research Group
Aluminium in human brain tissue from donors without neurodegenerative disease: A comparison with Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and autism
A burgeoning number of studies are demonstrating aluminium in human brain tissue. While research has both quantified and imaged aluminium in human brain tissue in neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disease there are few similar data for brain tissue from non-neurologically impaired donors. We have used microwave assisted acid digestion and transversely heated graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry to measure aluminium in twenty brains from donors without recognisable neurodegenerative disease. The aluminium content of 191 tissue samples was invariably low with over 80% of tissues having an aluminium content below 1.0 μg/g dry weight of tissue. The data for these control tissues were compared with data (measured using identical procedures) for sporadic Alzheimer’s disease, familial Alzheimer’s disease, autism spectrum disorder and multiple sclerosis. Detailed statistical analyses showed that aluminium was significantly increased in each of these disease groups compared to control tissues. We have confirmed previous conclusions that the aluminium content of brain tissue in Alzheimer’s disease, autism spectrum disorder and multiple sclerosis is significantly elevated. Further research is required to understand the role played by high levels of aluminium in the aetiology of human neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disease.