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J Alzheimers Dis. 2006 Nov;10(2-3):331-41.

Aluminum and other metals in Alzheimer's disease: a review of potential therapy with chelating agents.

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  • 1Laboratory of Toxicology and Environmental Health, School of Medicine, Rovira i Virgili University, 43201 Reus, Spain.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by the presence of neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain. Although the causes of AD remain still unknown, it seems that certain environmental factors may be involved in the etiology and pathogenesis of the disease. While AD is associated with the abnormal aggregation of beta-amyloid protein in the brain, evidence shows that certain metals play a role in the precipitation and cytotoxicity of this protein. Among these metals, the potential role of aluminum as a possible ethiopathogenic factor in AD has been especially controversial. This review is mainly focused on the role of aluminum and metals such as copper and zinc in AD, as well as on metal chelator therapy as a potential treatment for AD. The effects of desferrioxamine and other Al chelating agents have been reviewed. The role of the metal chelator clioquinol in AD, which has been reported to reduce beta-amyloid plaques, presumably by chelation associated with copper and zinc, is also revised. Finally, the potential role of silicon in AD is also discussed.

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