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The Effects of Ingested Aluminium on Brain Cytochrome Oxidase Activity

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Aluminium has a unique combination of physical and chemical properties which has enabled man to put this metal to very wide and varied use. However, prolonged exposure to aluminium ions may lead to adverse health effects. In this study, we evaluated the effects of dietary aluminium on the protein composition and the intrinsic activity of cytochrome oxidase (COX) for brain mitochondria. New Zealand white rabbits were maintained on a diet of commercial rabbit pellets and distilled water for a period of 12 weeks. For the experimental group, AlCl3, 330 mg/kg/L was added to the drinking water. When compared to the control, mitochondria isolated from the brains of the AlCl3 fed rabbits showed no change in Km but an approximate 35% decrease in both the low and high affinity Vmax values. Also, whereas the protein composition of the mitochondria from both sources appeared to be normal, isolation of highly purified COX proved to be difficult and for the AICI3 fed rabbits, a number of the enzyme’s low molecular weight subunits were absent. These results appear to confirm a relationship between long term aluminium consumption and low brain COX activity; they further suggest that an altered COX structure may be the cause of the low enzymic activity.

e-Published: 20 Sep, 2013
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