Environmental toxins and Alzheimer's disease progression.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia, which causes progressive memory loss and cognitive decline. Effective strategies to treat or prevent remains one of the most challenging undertakings in the medical field. AD is a complex and multifactorial disease that involves several risk factors. Aging and genetic factors both play important roles in the onset of the AD, however; certain environmental factors have been reported to increase the risk of AD. Chronic exposure to toxins has been seen as an environmental factor that may increase the risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease such as AD. Exposure to metals and biotoxins produced by bacteria, molds, and viruses may contribute to the cognitive decline and pathophysiology associated with AD. Toxins may contribute to the pathology of the disease through various mechanisms such as deposition of amyloid-beta (Aβ) plaques and tangles in the brain, induction of apoptosis, inflammation, or oxidative damage. Here, we will review how toxins affect brain physiology with a focus on mechanisms by which toxins may contribute to the development and progression of AD. A better understanding of these mechanisms may help contribute towards the development of an effective strategy to slow the progression of AD.