Commonalities between copper neurotoxicity and Alzheimer’s disease

Roshni Patel, Michael Aschner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Alzheimer’s disease, a highly prevalent form of dementia, targets neuron function beginning from the hippocampal region and expanding outwards. Alzheimer’s disease is caused by elevated levels of heavy metals, such as lead, zinc, and copper. Copper is found in many areas of daily life, raising a concern as to how this metal and Alzheimer’s disease are related. Previous studies have not identified the common pathways between excess copper and Alzheimer’s disease etiology. Our review corroborates that both copper and Alzheimer’s disease target the hippocampus, cerebral cortex, cerebellum, and brainstem, affecting motor skills and critical thinking. Additionally, Aβ plaque formation was analyzed beginning from synthesis at the APP parent protein site until Aβ plaque formation was completed. Structural changes were also noted. Further analysis revealed a relationship between amyloid-beta plaques and copper ion concentration. As copper ion levels increased, it bound to the Aβ monomer, expediting the plaque formation process, and furthering neurodegeneration. These conclusions can be utilized in the medical community to further research on the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease and its relationships to copper and other metal-induced neurotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Copper

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Toxicology
  • Chemical Health and Safety


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