A reexamination of aluminum in Alzheimer's disease

Analysis by energy dispersive X-ray microprobe and flameless atomic absorption spectrophotometry

R. W. Jacobs, Taihung Duong, R. E. Jones, G. A. Trapp, A. B. Scheibel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

We have attempted to verify the presence of increased aluminum (Al) levels in Alzheimer's disease (AD) brains by energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis (EDX) and flameless atomic absorption spectrophotometry (AAS). Tissue from seven AD brains, mounted on carbon polymerized coverslips, were stained with Congo-red or treated immunohistochemically to allow optical localization of AD-associated lesions during EDX. Despite a demonstrated sensitivity of 20-25 ppm, we were unable to detect Al in either plaque cores or neurons containing neurofibrillary tangles. For AAS, wet weight samples (ranging from 48-144 mg) from six of the seven AD brains and four controls were selected from regions similar to those studied under EDX, i.e., Brodmann areas 9, 11, 28, 46, 47, and the hippocampus. The tissue surrounding each sample site was sectioned and stained for thioflavin S. Boht controls and AD samples revealed similar levels of Al ranging from undetectable to 1.80 ng/mg wet wt. (mean AD: 0.28 ± 0.39 (SD), control: 0.54 ± 0.58 (SD)), independent of degree of histopathology or age of the case. We conclude that the combined strengths of these two techniques on similar tissue specimens demonstrate that abnormal Al levels are not required to produce the histologic findings of AD and that this element may not accumulate in the aging brain. It is unlikely, therefore, that Al is essential in the etiology of pathogenesis of plaques and tangles in AD. Al's role as a primary or secondarily associated event, when present, needs further delineation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)498-503
Number of pages6
JournalCanadian Journal of Neurological Sciences
Volume16
Issue number4 SUPPL.
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Atomic Spectrophotometry
Aluminum
Alzheimer Disease
X-Rays
Electron Probe Microanalysis
Brain
Congo Red
Neurofibrillary Tangles
Hippocampus
Carbon
Neurons
Weights and Measures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

A reexamination of aluminum in Alzheimer's disease : Analysis by energy dispersive X-ray microprobe and flameless atomic absorption spectrophotometry. / Jacobs, R. W.; Duong, Taihung; Jones, R. E.; Trapp, G. A.; Scheibel, A. B.

In: Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences, Vol. 16, No. 4 SUPPL., 1989, p. 498-503.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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