top of page
Stainless Steel

Research News

Here we feature new and exciting papers on aluminium! Please read on for the latest developments, findings and research.  

New Study Modelling Aluminium in Biological Systems

  • In the Spotlight

Prof. Xabier Lopez

  • Professor of Physical Chemistry, University of the Basque Country.

March 2022

“Aluminium is an efficient promoter of the electron transfer reaction”.

  • What is the background of your research?


My research background is the use of the machinery of computational modelling and theoretical chemistry to understand the complex interactions of metals with biomolecules. 

  • What did you do?


We used computational chemistry to understand the molecular mechanism of the influence of aluminum, a non-redox metal, in prototype electron transfer processes, for which accurate experiments are available. In particular, the electron transfer reaction between quinones to DPPH, a molecule often used as an example of a reactive nitrogen species. 

  • And what did you find?


We found that aluminum is an efficient promoter of the electron transfer reaction. Therefore it can act as an efficient radical scavenger due to its particular physical chemistry features, which can be summarized as a strong lewis acid with a high capacity to stabilize negatively charged species and promote deprotonation of ligands bound to the metal.

  • What new conclusions could you draw from this study?


Our results, along with the previous experimental evidence, point to an essential effect of the presence of aluminum in the alteration of the appropriate balance of radical species in a biological medium, despite the non-redox nature of aluminum. Therefore, we think that the non-redox nature of aluminum, a property often used as an argument to defend its inertness in biological media, should be disregarded. 

Original Research Article:

  • Lanuza J, Postils V & Lopez X (2022) Can aluminum, a non-redox metal, alter the thermodynamics of key biological processes? The DPPH-QH2 radical scavenging reaction as a test case. Free Radical Biology and Medicine 179, 200-207. DOI:

Prof. Xabier Lopez.jpg

Image: Modelling aluminum complexes in biologically-relevant systems. 2,2–diphenyl–1–picrylhydrazyl (DPPH, a radical compound used as a reactive oxygen species) coordinated to Al    through an orto nitro group of the picryl substituent of DPPH.


New Study on Aluminium in human brain tissue

  • In the Spotlight

Dr Matthew John Mold & Prof. Christopher Exley

  • Aluminium Research Group

January 2022

“Biondi ring tangles act as sinks for aluminium in Parkinson’s disease and late-onset Epilepsy”.

BR tangles.tif

Image: Aluminium in human brain tissue. Aluminium in Biondi ring tangles (orange) in the hippocampus of a donor with Parkinson’s disease. Scale bar: 50μm.

  • What did this new study investigate?

We investigated the brain tissue of donors with Parkinson’s disease and a donor who developed late-onset epilepsy after being exposed to high levels of aluminium in his potable water supply. We sought to establish whether Biondi ring tangles that accumulate as misfolded proteins in the choroid plexus of the hippocampus could act as a sink for aluminium.


  • Why Biondi ring tangles?


In past studies, Biondi ring tangles have been suggested as mere artefacts that deposit in the brain and accumulate with ageing. We know that misfolded proteins such as amyloid-β in Alzheimer’s disease act as sinks for aluminium. In the same region of the brain, in the hippocampus, these Biondi ring tangles accumulate in specialised cells that help filter the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).


  • What experiments did you perform?


We are experts in the technique of aluminium-specific fluorescence microscopy. Using this well-established and highly selective method, we analysed the choroid plexus of two donors with Parkinson’s disease and in the brain tissue of a donor that developed late-onset epilepsy.


  • What did you find?


Aluminium was frequently found deposited in Biondi ring tangles in both Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy donors. Interestingly, while other studies have suggested that Biondi ring tangles are made of the protein tau that forms tangles in donors with Alzheimer’s disease, this study found otherwise. While further research is now needed, our new data suggest that Biondi ring tangles possess a structure more similar to amyloid-β fibrils that form in Alzheimer’s disease.


  • What conclusions can you now make?


While Biondi ring tangles are considered artefacts in brain positron emission tomography (PET) imaging studies, their ability to bind aluminium and then potentially release it upon their escape and subsequent rupture of choroidal cells may allow for a mechanism that propagates aluminium toxicity in vivo.  

Original Research Article:

Exclusive report with Christopher Exley PhD FRSB by Miri AF

  • In the Spotlight

Miri Anne Finch

Writer and Reporter for

November 2021




Miri AF


Miri Anne Finch (Miri AF), provides an exclusive report with Christopher Exley PhD FRSB; Science Sold Out: How one of the UK's top research scientists has been smeared, vilified, and forced into silence for his lifelong commitment to genuinely following the science".
Check out the full interview

New study on aluminium in cancer

  • In the Spotlight

Dr Mirna Tenan

Breast Cancer Research,

Laboratoire de cancérogenèse environnementale, Fondation des Grangettes, Geneva


September 2021

"Concentrations of aluminium in the range of those detected in human
tissues promote chromosome instability in mammalian cells".

  • What is the background of your research?


Aluminium, added to many products of regular use, is a suspected human carcinogen. Chromosome Instability (CIN), consisting of high rates of structural and numerical chromosome aberrations, is a well-known hallmark of cancer and is associated with poor prognosis and multidrug resistance.


  • What did you do?


We exposed Chinese hamster V79 cells, frequently used for the assessment of chemical carcinogens in regulatory toxicology, to aluminium concentrations in the range of those measured in human tissues and investigated its cellular uptake and impact on the numerical and structural integrity of chromosomes.


  • And what did you find?



We found that the cells incorporate aluminium in a dose-dependent manner and predominantly concentrate it in the perinuclear space of the cytoplasm. Intracellular aluminium accumulation leads to a significant and dose-dependent increase in chromosomes carrying DNA double strand breaks (DSB) and numerical abnormalities. When entering mitosis, V79 cells exposed to aluminium assemble abnormal multipolar mitotic spindles and appear to cluster extra centrosomes (the organelles forming the spindle poles), possibly as an attempt to divide in a pseudo-bipolar manner. The effects observed upon aluminium exposure are well-recognized sources of chromosome DSB and segregation errors.


  • What new conclusions could you draw from this study?



Hence, our findings show that the range of aluminium concentrations detected in human tissues promotes chromosome instability (CIN) in mammalian cells, thus supporting the hypothesis that aluminium is a human carcinogen.

Original Research Article:

  • Tenan MR, Nicolle A, Moralli D, Verbouwe E, Jankowska JD, Durin MA, Green CM, Mandriota SJ, Sappino AP (2021) Aluminum enters mammalian cells and destabilizes chromosome structure and number. Int J Mol Sci 22(17), 9515. DOI:


Image: Aluminium incorporation by V79 cells. The image shows intracellular aluminium (orange) in two V79 cells incubated with 100 µM AlCl3 for 3 hours. The cell nuclei are evidenced by pink staining. Scale bar: 20 µM. 

bottom of page