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Brain Res. 2010 Mar 10;1319:118-30. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2009.11.085. Epub 2009 Dec 22.

Clinical utility of copper, ceruloplasmin, and metallothionein plasma determinations in human neurodegenerative patients and their first-degree relatives.

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  • 1INIBIOLP (Instituto de Investigac]iones Bioquímicas de La Plata), CCT La Plata, CONICET-UNLP, Cátedra de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, 60 y 120 (1900) La Plata, Argentina.


The concentration of plasma copper, ceruloplasmin (CRP), non-ceruloplasmin-bound Cu (NCBC), and metallothioneins (MTs) were studied as putative biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases in patients and in their first-degree relatives. We found increased levels of Cu in the plasma of Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), and vascular dementia (VD) patients, and the increase observed in VD group was linked to the evolution of the disease. CRP was also elevated in response to the inflammatory component of the diseases, however, a correlation with illness progression was only observed in VD patients. The level of MTs is proportional to the evolution of VD. The Cu/CRP and Cu/MTs ratios are both indicative of disease progression for AD patients but not for those with PD or VD. Moreover, there is a correlation between the NCBC levels and the cognitive impairment estimated through the Mini-mental State Examination (MMSE) scale. This dependence is linear for AD and PD patients and non-linear for the VD ones. The relative values of NCBC showed dependence on the disease duration, especially for AD. Copper measurement and the Cu/CRP ratio may be predictive markers of risk for the first-degree relatives of AD patients. We believe that these results are valuable as a reliable clinical tool.

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