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J Nutr. 1991 Feb;121(2):208-14.

Copper uptake and transfer to the mouse fetus during pregnancy.

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Department of Child Health, Ninewells Hospital, Scotland, United Kingdom.


Accumulation of 64Cu in the 14-d mouse fetus was measured following intravenous injection of the dam with 64CuHis2. Concentration of 64Cu in the placenta increased rapidly over the first 4 h, thereafter remaining constant. Transfer to the fetus was linear over 48 h with little evidence of storage in the liver. Maternal serum levels decreased initially, concurrently with increased 64Cu levels in the maternal liver, but did not subsequently increase. Immediately following injection, as much as 40% of the radioactivity was in the nonalbumin fraction, and approximately 37% of that fraction (18% of total) was greater than 30,000 molecular weight. After 24 h, up to 60% of the 64Cu was still found in the albumin peak. The data suggest that the fetus can obtain its Cu from maternal ceruloplasmin but does not exclude the possibility that transfer occurs from the exchangeable (albumin/amino acid) Cu pool of the maternal plasma. In a second experiment, mice at different stages of gestation were injected with 64Cu and killed 4 h later. Total Cu levels and 64Cu uptake into the maternal tissues or into the placenta did not change with increasing gestation. Both total Cu and 64Cu uptake in the fetus and fetal liver increased to a maximum on d 16. Levels in the liver decreased thereafter to term, whereas levels in the rest of the fetus remained approximately constant. The pattern was similar whether the results were expressed per organ or per gram of fresh weight.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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