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Lead and manganese levels in serum and erythrocytes in Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment: results from the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle Flagship Study of Ageing

We examined serum and erythrocyte lead and manganese levels in the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle Flagship Study of Ageing (AIBL), which contains over 1000 registrants including over 200 cases of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and 100 mildly cognitively impaired (MCI) individuals. After correcting for confounding effects of age, collection site and sex, we found a significant decrease in serum manganese levels in AD subjects compared to healthy controls. Analysis of smaller subset of erythrocytes revealed no difference in either lead or manganese levels in AD. Although lead and manganese have neurotoxic effects and may be involved in AD pathology, our results showed that neither metal in serum nor erythrocytes are suitable biomarkers in our cohort. However, prospective studies might reveal whether the burden of either metal modifies disease outcomes.