Aluminum as a CNS and Immune System Toxin Across the Life Span

  • Christopher A. Shaw
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1091)


In the following, I will consider the impact of aluminum on two major systems, the central nervous system (CNS) and the immune system, across the life span. The article will discuss the presence of aluminum in the biosphere, its history, and the sources of the element. These include food, water cosmetics, some vaccines, and a range of other sources. I will also consider aluminum’s unique chemistry. Finally, in humans and animals, I will consider how aluminum may impact the CNS at various levels of organization and how it may be involved in various neurological disease states across the life span. These disorders include those of infancy and childhood, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as well as those in adulthood, such as in Alzheimer’s disease. The bidirectional nature of CNS–immune system interactions will be considered and put into the context of neurological disorders that have an autoimmune component. I will argue that the exposure to humans and animals to this element needs to be reduced if we are to diminish some CNS and immune system disorders.


Aluminum bioavailability Central nervous system Immune system Autoimmunity Autism spectrum disorder 



Thanks are due to Drs. Housam Eidi for constructive comments on a draft of this article. Michael Kuo provided help with references and formatting. Funding was provided by the Luther Allyn Shourds Dean estate. Some of the sections in this article were excerpted from my book, Neural Dynamics of Neurological Disease (John Wiley & Sons, 2017).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher A. Shaw
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ophthalmology and Visual SciencesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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