Encyclopedia of Metalloproteins

2013 Edition
| Editors: Robert H. Kretsinger, Vladimir N. Uversky, Eugene A. Permyakov

Aluminum, Biological Effects

  • Patrick C. D’HaeseEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-1533-6_110



This entry refers to the ways of exposure of various biological systems to aluminum and to the mechanisms underlying the interactions of the element with these systems. Concerns on aluminum toxicity on ecosystems gain interest in view of the continuously increasing use of aluminum compounds in industry and acid rain.


Despite the ubiquity of aluminum (Al) in the environment and its presence in living organisms, be it in small amounts (ppb-ppm range), no biological function has so far been attributed to the element. For this reason aluminum is considered a nonessential metal. It has long been thought that aluminum was inert for living organisms and as such was not regarded as a toxic element until the 1960s. At that time, only a few reports dealt with the toxic effects of aluminum in humans and animals, which, however, did not receive much attention. In the 1970s, aluminum exposure was...

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of PathophysiologyUniversity of AntwerpWilrijkBelgium