Immunologic Research

, Volume 56, Issue 2–3, pp 304–316 | Cite as

Aluminum in the central nervous system (CNS): toxicity in humans and animals, vaccine adjuvants, and autoimmunity

  • C. A. ShawEmail author
  • L. Tomljenovic
Etio Pathogenesis of Autoimmunity


We have examined the neurotoxicity of aluminum in humans and animals under various conditions, following different routes of administration, and provide an overview of the various associated disease states. The literature demonstrates clearly negative impacts of aluminum on the nervous system across the age span. In adults, aluminum exposure can lead to apparently age-related neurological deficits resembling Alzheimer’s and has been linked to this disease and to the Guamanian variant, ALS–PDC. Similar outcomes have been found in animal models. In addition, injection of aluminum adjuvants in an attempt to model Gulf War syndrome and associated neurological deficits leads to an ALS phenotype in young male mice. In young children, a highly significant correlation exists between the number of pediatric aluminum-adjuvanted vaccines administered and the rate of autism spectrum disorders. Many of the features of aluminum-induced neurotoxicity may arise, in part, from autoimmune reactions, as part of the ASIA syndrome.


Autism ALS Alzheimer’s Neurodegeneration Immune response 



The authors thank the Dwoskin Family Foundation and the Katlyn Fox Foundation for support. The authors also thank Yongling Li for technical assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neural Dynamics Research Group, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual SciencesUniversity of British Columbia (UBC)VancouverCanada
  2. 2.Program in Experimental MedicineUniversity of British Columbia (UBC)VancouverCanada
  3. 3.Program in NeuroscienceUniversity of British Columbia (UBC)VancouverCanada

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