Neurotoxicology of Metals

Roberto G. Lucchini, Michael Aschner, David C. Bellinger, Samuel W. Caito

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The nervous system has many functions, including the coordination and regulation of homeostasis of the respiratory, digestive, circulatory, and endocrine systems, to name just a few. The nervous system also controls movement and sensory perception. In addition, innate behavior originates within the nervous system, as do higher cognitive functions, which define personality and enable learning, memory, and emotions. As a result, toxicants that affect the nervous system cause broad effects across many physiological and psychological domains. Several metals, such as aluminum (Al), arsenic (As), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), manganese (Mn), mercury (Hg) and thallium (Tl), are known to be neurotoxic to the central and peripheral nervous system. There is also some evidence of neurotoxicity for alkyltin (alkyl-Sn), bismuth (Bi), cadmium (Cd), lithium (Li), selenium (Se) and zinc (Zn). From clinical neurological manifestations occurring in occupational settings, attention is now focused on preclinical neurobehavioral effects in susceptible subpopulations such as pregnant women and children. Through their long-term deposition in the body, metals may also have a role in neurodegeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on the Toxicology of Metals
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780444594532
ISBN (Print)9780123973399
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • central nervous system
  • neurobehavioral changes
  • neurodegeneration
  • neurotoxicity
  • peripheral nervous system


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