Neurotoxicology of metals

Airton C. Martins, Samuel W. Caito, David C. Bellinger, Roberto G. Lucchini, Michael Aschner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The nervous system has many functions, including the coordination and regulation of homeostasis of the respiratory, digestive, circulatory, and endocrine systems, to name just a few. The nervous system also controls movement and sensory perception. In addition, innate behavior originates within the nervous system, as do higher cognitive functions, which define personality and enable learning, memory, and emotions. As a result, toxicants that affect the nervous system cause broad effects across many physiological and psychological domains. Several metals, such as aluminum (Al), arsenic (As), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), manganese (Mn), mercury (Hg), and thallium (Tl), are known to be neurotoxic to the central and peripheral nervous system. There is also some evidence of neurotoxicity for alkyltin (alkyl-Sn), bismuth (Bi), cadmium (Cd), lithium (Li), selenium (Se), and zinc (Zn). From clinical neurological manifestations occurring in occupational settings, attention is now focused on preclinical neurobehavioral effects in susceptible subpopulations such as pregnant women and children. Through their long-term deposition in the body, metals may also have a role in neurodegeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook on the Toxicology of Metals
Subtitle of host publicationVolume I: General Considerations
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780128232927
ISBN (Print)9780128232934
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Central nervous system
  • Neurobehavioral changes
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Peripheral nervous system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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