Objectives Ferritin is the main iron-storage protein capable of containing thousands of iron atoms. However, ferritin can bind in vitro other atoms such as aluminum and it has been shown that also in vivo atoms other than iron, as aluminum and zinc, are present in large amounts in ferritin. Since aluminum appears to be involved in the development of Alzheimer's disease, in the present study the specific content of aluminum in ferritin of Alzheimer's patients was analyzed and compared with other control groups. Design and methods The content of Fe, Al and Zn of blood ferritin was measured by mass spectrometry in patients with Alzheimer's disease and compared with other clinical and control groups. Results The results obtained confirm the hypothesis of a functional role of ferritin as a regulatory protein of toxic metals and clearly indicate that ferritin from Alzheimer's patients has a content of aluminum higher than that of controls. Conclusions The specific aluminum content of ferritin seems to be related to different disease stages of Alzheimer's disease. This result confirms the hypothesis of aluminum as a possible factor inducing the Alzheimer's disease and opens the ways to possible new diagnostic tests.
- Alzheimer's disease