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Alzheimer's disease: X-ray spectrometric evidence of aluminum accumulation in neurofibrillary tangle-bearing neurons

The elemental content of neurons of the hippocampus was studied by a combination of scanning electron microscopy and x-ray spectrometry in autopsy-derived brain tissue from three cases of senile dementia (Alzheimer type) and three nondemented elderly controls.

 Foci of aluminum were detected within the nuclear region of a high percentage of neurons containing neurofibrillary tangles from the cases of senile dementia as well as the elderly controls. The adjacent normal-appearing neurons from both groups of patients were virtually free of detectable aluminum.

These findings suggest that the association of aluminum to Alzheimer's disease extends to the neuronal level.