Evidence of link between exposure to aluminium and multiple sclerosis

Scientists at Keele University in Staffordshire have discovered the first evidence of a link between human exposure to aluminium and multiple sclerosis.

Their research has demonstrated very high (up to 40 times the control level) urinary excretion of aluminium in MS, particularly so in the relapsing-remitting form of the disease. Urinary excretion of iron was also significantly elevated in MS and particularly so in the secondary progressive form of the disease.

Urinary excretion of silicon, the ‘natural’ antagonist to the potential toxicity of aluminium, was decreased in MS and particularly so in secondary progressive form of the disease.

The research suggests that individuals with MS have a higher body burden of aluminium and that their urinary excretion of aluminium is linked to changes taking place during the relapsing-remitting stage of the disease.

Dr Christopher Exley, Birchall Centre for Inorganic Chemistry and Materials Science, Lennard-Jones Laboratories, Keele University, Staffordshire, said: “If, as is currently believed, MS is a disorder resulting from the interplay between the environment and susceptibility genes then our observation of elevated excretion of iron may be indicative of the latter, while elevated excretion of aluminium suggests that exposure to aluminium may be the hitherto unrecognised environmental factor in MS.”

Other researchers involved in the study were: Godwin Mamutse, Olga Korchazhkina, Eleanor Pye, Stanislav Strekopytov, Anthony Polwart, Clive Hawkins.

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