The Role of Metals in Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia and the main pathological feature is massive neuronal loss in areas of the brain responsible for memory and learning, such as the cortex and hippocampus. In the brain, three major hallmarks are associated with the processes of this disease: amyloid beta peptide (Aβ) deposition, neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) of hyperphosphorylated microtubule‐associated tau and synaptic loss. Epidemiological studies have shown an association between heavy metals, such as lead, cadmium and mercury, and AD. While these metals have no biological function with the pathogenesis of AD, others such as iron, copper or zinc fulfil various essential biological functions where any changes in their levels by excess or deficit can lead to deleterious responses and alter cognitive functions.