Abstract In an animal model of aluminum overload, (aluminium gluconate), the increases in tissue aluminium content were paralleled by elevations of tissue iron in the kidney, liver heart and spleen as well as in various brain regions, frontal, temporal and parietal cortex and hippocampus. Despite such increases in iron content there were no significant changes in the activities of a wide range of cytoprotective enzymes apart from an increase in superoxide dismutase in the frontal cortex of the aluminium loaded rats. Such increases in tissue iron content may be attributed to the stabilisation of IRP-2 by aluminium thereby promoting transferrin receptor synthesis while blocking ferritin synthesis. Using the radioactive tracer 26Al less than 1% of the injected dose was recovered in isolated ferritin, supporting previous studies which also found little evidence for aluminium storage within ferritin. The increases in brain iron may well be contributory to neurodegeneration, although the pathogenesis by which iron exerts such an effect is unclear.