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Biol Trace Elem Res. 2018 Feb;181(2):185-191. doi: 10.1007/s12011-017-1042-y. Epub 2017 May 13.

The Relationship Between Copper, Iron, and Selenium Levels and Alzheimer Disease.

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Campus CEDETEG, Pharmacy Department, Midwest State University, Simeão Camargo Varella de Sá, Vila Carli, Guarapuava, PR, 85040-080, Brazil.
Memory Center, Brain Institute of Rio Grande do Sul, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS, 90610-000, Brazil.
Dipartimento di Neuroscienze, Psicologia, Areadel Farmaco e Salute del Bambino, Sezionedi Farmacologia e Tossicologia, Universitádi Firenze, 50139, Florence, Italy.
Faculdade de Medicina do ABC, Departamento de Pós-Graduação, Pesquisa e Inovação, Av. Lauro Gomes, 2000, Santo Andre, SP, 09060-870, Brazil.
Toxicological Biochemistry Department, Federal University of Santa Maria, Roraima Avenue, 1000, Cidade Universitária, Camobi, Santa Maria, RS, 97105-900, Brazil.


This study aimed to evaluate the concentrations of copper, iron, and selenium in elderly people with Alzheimer disease (AD), comparing the same parameters in a paired group of healthy people, in order to verify if the amount of these metals may influence the cognitive impairment progression. Patients' cognitive impairment was evaluated by Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR). The elementary quantification of erythrocytes was performed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry technique. The statistical analyses were carried out by SPSS software 20.0 version, employing Shapiro-Wilk, Wilcoxon, Kruskall-Wallis, and Spearman correlation tests, considering significant results of p < 0.05. The sample was composed of 34% (n = 11) of women and 66% (n = 21) of men in each group. The AD group was characterized by a higher concentration of copper (p < 0.0001) and iron (p < 0.0001); however, there is no significant difference in selenium level. The analyses of the metal levels in different stages of AD were not significant in CDR-1, however in CDR-2 and CDR-3, elevated levels of copper and iron were observed; in CDR-3 patients, the level of selenium was lower (p < 0.008) compared to that of healthy controls. Patients with Alzheimer disease studied present increase in biometal blood levels, especially of copper and iron, and such increase can be different according to the disease stage and can cause more impairment cognitive functions in AD.


Alzheimer disease; Blood chemical analysis; Cognitive disorders; Trace elements

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