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Alzheimer Disease: Mercury as pathogenetic factor and apolipoprotein E as a moderator

Abstract
The etiology of most cases of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is as yet unknown. Epidemiological studies suggest that environmental factors may be involved beside genetic risk factors. Some studies have shown higher mercury concentrations in brains of deceased and in blood of living patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Experimental studies have found that even smallest amounts of mercury
but no other metals in low concentrations were able to cause all nerve cell changes, which are typical for Alzheimer’s disease. The most important genetic risk factor for sporadic Alzheimer’s disease is the presence of the apolipoprotein Ee4 allele whereas the apolipoprotein Ee2 allele reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Some investigators have suggested that apolipoprotein Ee4 has a reduced ability to bind metals like mercury and therefore explain the higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Therapeutic approaches embrace pharmaceuticals which bind metals in the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. In sum, both the findings from epidemiological and demographical studies, the frequency of amalgam application in industrialized countries, clinical studies, experimental studies and the dental state of AD patients in comparison to controls suggest a decisive role for inorganic mercury in the etiology of AD.

Published on 09-02-2009
Authors: Joachim Mutter*, Johannes Naumann*, Catharina Sadaghiani*, Rainer Schneider*1 & Harald Walach*1
Source: Neuroendocrinology Letters No.5 October Vol.25, 2004