Metals such as aluminum (Al), copper (Cu), zinc and iron have been implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Because trace amounts of metals are present in the drinking water, there is a possibility for low-dose chronic exposure. Since the presence of Al and Cu in drinking water has been shown to adversely affect the progression of AD, these two metals may aggravate some of the events associated with the disease process.
The main focus of this review will be on the effects of Al and Cu in initiating or propagating an inflammatory response within the aging brain. Since inflammatory events are reported to be upregulated in the AD brain, this may be one of the mechanisms by which the metals potentiate neurodegeneration.