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Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2010 Sep;25(6):490-7. doi: 10.1177/1533317510375083. Epub 2010 Jul 14.

Copper and ceruloplasmin abnormalities in Alzheimer's disease.

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Department of Human Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 48103, USA.


The idea that copper may play a role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease is gaining momentum. Serum copper and ceruloplasmin were measured by both enzymatic (eCp) and immunologic (iCp) methods in 28 patients with Alzheimer's disease and 29 age-matched controls. ''Free copper'' was determined by subtracting copper accounted for in the eCp assay from total serum copper. Percentage free copper, that is the proportion of serum copper not bound to ceruloplasmin, was significantly elevated in patients with Alzheimer's compared to controls. There was significantly more ''defective'' ceruloplasmin, which is apoceruloplamin lacking its copper, in Alzheimer's disease than in normal controls. This abnormality may precede the clinical onset of the disease and help predict risk of disease onset. Increased exposure to environmental copper (eg, the spread of copper plumbing and the use of copper in supplements) and/or defective ceruloplasmin function may play a role in the current epidemic of Alzheimer's disease.

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