Aluminum (Al) compounds are neurotoxic and have been shown to induce experimental neurodegeneration although the mechanism of this effect is unclear. In order to study this neurotoxic effect of Al, we have developed an in vitro model system using Al maltolate and human NT2 cells. Al maltolate at 500 mM caused significant cell death with a 24-h incubation and this toxicity was even more evident after 48 h. Lower doses of Al maltolate were also effective, but required a longer incubation for cell death. Nuclear fragmentation suggestive of apoptosis was observed as early as three hours and increased substantially through 24 h. Chromatin condensation and nuclear fragmentation were confirmed by electron microscopy. In addition, TUNEL positive nuclei were also observed. The release of cytochrome c was demonstrated with Western blot analysis. This in vitro model using human cells adds to our understanding of Al neurotoxicity and could provide insight into the neurodegenerative processes in human disease.
Dewitt, David A.; Griffioen, Kathleen J. S.; Ghribi, Othman; Fox, Nena; and Savory, John, "Aluminum Maltolate-Induced Toxicity in NT2 Cells Occurs Through Apoptosis and Includes Cytochrome c Release" (2004). Faculty Publications and Presentations. Paper 9.