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Nephron. 2001 Aug;88(4):307-12.

Urinary copper excretion in type 2 diabetic patients with nephropathy.

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Department of Geriatric Medicine, Akita University School of Medicine, Akita, Japan.



The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between the degree of urinary copper excretion and stages of diabetic nephropathy.


Copper, ceruloplasmin and albumin concentrations were measured in serum and urine samples from 41 type 2 diabetic outpatients with different stages of nephropathy and from 10 healthy controls. The copper/albumin and copper/ceruloplasmin ratios in serum and urine were determined. Furthermore, we examined whether free copper ions are dissociated from ceruloplasmin under various pH conditions.


Urinary copper concentrations significantly increased only in macroalbuminuric patients. The copper/ceruloplasmin and copper/albumin ratios in urine were consistently greater than those in serum which were not different between patients and healthy controls except the copper/albumin ratio in macroalbuminuric patients. The ratios in urine decreased in parallel with the progression of nephropathy. Copper was found to be released from ceruloplasmin under acidic conditions.


Urinary copper excretion in healthy controls may be the result of dissociation from the albumin-copper complex of serum during its passage through the kidney. In diabetic patients with advanced nephropathy, urinary copper excretion may be due to dissociations from both copper-albumin and ceruloplasmin-copper complexes filtered through the damaged glomerulus. Overloading of urinary copper to damaged renal tubules may play some roles in the progression of nephropathy in patients with advanced nephropathy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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