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J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2019 Aug 23;56:156-161. doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2019.08.011. [Epub ahead of print]

Serum copper profile in patients with type 1 diabetes in comparison to other metals.

Author information

Molecular Markers Laboratory, IRCCS Istituto Centro San Giovanni di Dio Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, Italy. Electronic address:
IGEA Research, 2600 SW 3rd Avenue, Suite 350, Miami, FL 33129, United States.
Psychology Department, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, United States.
Diabetes Research Institute and Department of Surgery, Cell Transplant Program, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL 33136, United States.
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Research and Development Division, 'San Giovanni Calibita', Fatebenefratelli Hospital, Isola Tiberina, Rome, Italy.
Diabetes Research Institute and the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL 33136, United States.



Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a chronic condition in which the pancreas loses the ability to produce insulin due to an autoimmune destruction of the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreatic islets of Langerhans. Pathophysiological complications related to diabetes include micro and macrovascular disease, nephropathy, and neuropathy that can also be affected by environmental factors such as lifestyle and diet.


The current study aimed to evaluate the serum levels of total copper, the copper-carrying protein, ceruloplasmin and nonceruloplasmin bound copper (nonceruloplasmin-Cu) and other essential and environmental metals and metalloids in subjects with T1D compared with healthy controls.


A cohort of 63 subjects with T1D attending Diabetes Clinics at the University of Miami and 65 healthy control subjects was studied. Metals and metalloids were measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.


A main finding of this study was that total copper and ceruloplasmin levels were higher in persons with T1D compared to healthy controls. In comparison to other metals and clinical variables, elevated copper was the strongest factor associated with T1D resulting in a15-fold increased odds of having the disease per standard deviation increase.


Our results suggest a metal and metalloid perturbation in T1D with a significant involvement of Copper dysfunction in the disease pathology, possibly linked to inflammatory processes.


Copper; Free copper; Metals; Selenium manganese; Type 1 diabetes; Zinc

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