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J Nutr Health Aging. 2006 Jul-Aug;10(4):247-54.

Trace copper levels in the drinking water, but not zinc or aluminum influence CNS Alzheimer-like pathology.

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Roberts aboratory for NeurodegenerativeDisease Research, Sun Health Research Institute, Sun City, AZ, USA.


Mounting evidence suggests copper may influence the progression of Alzheimer's disease by reducing clearance of the amyloid beta protein (Abeta) from the brain. Previous experiments show that addition of only 0.12 PPM copper (one-tenth the Environmental Protection Agency Human consumption limits) to distilled water was sufficient to precipitate the accumulation of Abeta in the brains of cholesterol-fed rabbits (1). Here we report that addition of copper to the drinking water of spontaneously hypercholesterolemic Watanabe rabbits, cholesterol-fed beagles and rabbits, PS1/APP transgenic mice produced significantly enhanced brain levels of Abeta. In contrast to the effects of copper, we found that aluminum- or zinc-ion-supplemented distilled water did not have a significant effect on brain Ab accumulation in cholesterol-fed rabbits. We also report that administration of distilled water produced a reduction in the expected accumulation of Ab in three separate animal models. Collectively, these data suggest that water quality may have a significant influence on disease progression and Ab neuropathology in AD.

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