Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 62, Issue 1–2, pp 107–114 | Cite as

Trace elements in Alzheimer's disease pituitary glands

  • C. R. Cornett
  • W. D. Ehmann
  • D. R. Wekstein
  • W. R. Markesbery


Levels of mercury (Hg), selenium (Se), iron (Fe), rubidium (Rb), and zinc (Zn) were measured in the pituitary gland to assess the possibility of a potential difference in the environmental Hg exposure of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients and control subjects and levels of other elements of interest in AD. The pituitary gland has been established as a good predictor of environmental Hg exposure. Neutron activation analysis was utilized to determine levels of these elements in pituitary glands of 43 AD subjects and 15 control subjects. No significant differences were observed between the AD and control means for these five elements. The sole significant Pearson's correlation involving Hg was the established correlation with Se, indicative of the detoxification of Hg. The absence of a statistical difference between AD and control pituitary gland Hg levels suggests AD patients do not have an excessive environmental exposure to Hg compared to controls.

Index Entries

Alzheimer's disease pituitary glands neutron activation analysis mercury selenium iron rubidium zinc 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. R. Cornett
    • 1
    • 6
  • W. D. Ehmann
    • 1
  • D. R. Wekstein
    • 2
    • 5
  • W. R. Markesbery
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of KentuckyLexington
  2. 2.Department of Physiology and BiophysicsUniversity of KentuckyLexington
  3. 3.Department of PathologyUniversity of KentuckyLexington
  4. 4.Department of NeurologyUniversity of KentuckyLexington
  5. 5.Sanders-Brown Center on AgingUniversity of KentuckyLexington
  6. 6.Department of ChemistryCollege of Mount St. JosephCincinnati

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