Thursday, January 30, 2014

Aluminum induces neurotoxicity by altering mitochondria of brain cells


Aluminum's role in causing neurotoxicity and contributing to a number of degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, has been widely discussed and is supported by a number of studies, though the exact mechanism remains inconclusive.

Now, scientists have reached a better understanding of its role in killing brain cells by studying the effects of aluminum on mitochondria inside neurons, which are responsible for several critical maintenance roles, including the production of ATP by metabolizing oxygen, as well as regulating the inner cell membrane during neurotransmission.

The life and death of the neuron is largely in the hands of mitochondria, and mitochondrial dysfunction is now thought to be hugely responsible for dead brain cells and neurotoxicity - through both necrosis and apoptosis. Dysfunction in neuronal mitochondria compromises cell integrity - in part through the creation of free radicals - and contributes directly to aging and the rise of degenerative diseases and metabolic issues.

Chinese researchers affiliated with the Institute of Occupational Medicine at Tongji Medical College investigated how aluminum induces alterations in the mitochondrial structure, disrupting its important functions and leading to neurotoxicity.

Their study examined the neural cells of rats that were exposed to aluminum, probing the ultrastructure of the mitochondria under an electron microscope. Their results suggested that aluminum may impair the mitochondria's membranes and cristae (folds in the inner membrane) - both vital to aerobic cellular respiration, where mitochondria use oxygen to generate the vast quantities of ATP needed for neuronal function and neurotransmission. It also suppresses enzyme activity in mitochondria.

A 2008 study was conducted by the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in India to research the effects of chronic lower-dose exposure to aluminum administered intragastrically - in the rats' stomachs - over the course of 12 weeks. DNA damage via oxidation was observed, as well as disruptions to the cell cycle of neurons, inviting cell death due to improper mitochondria action.

For the rest of the story: http://www.naturalnews.com/043706_aluminum_neurotoxicity_neuron_mitochondria.html

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