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Anal Bioanal Chem. 2009 Jul;394(5):1477-84. doi: 10.1007/s00216-009-2809-6. Epub 2009 May 7.

Determination of ultrafiltrable and exchangeable copper in plasma: stability and reference values in healthy subjects.

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Biological Toxicology Laboratory, AP-HP, Lariboisière Hospital, 2, rue Ambroise Paré, 75475 Paris cedex 10, France.


The knowledge of copper (Cu) distribution in blood contributes to a better understanding of copper metabolism and to a better approach and follow up of related diseases such as Wilson's disease (WD). Many tests can be used to investigate patients who may have WD but they show many drawbacks and do not allow real patient monitoring. Knowing that the Cu overload can result from the free and easily exchangeable form of copper in plasma, a two-step method (ultrafiltration-determination by ETAAS) was carried out to determine these two fractions. The ultrafiltration procedure and the instrumental determination showed good repeatability, and a very low limit of detection was obtained (0.7 nmol/L). In vitro stability of both ultrafiltrable copper (CuUF) and exchangeable copper (CuEXC) was studied. Plasma was ultrafiltered in 44 presumably healthy subjects to determine CuUF and CuEXC and to set reference values ranges. The method was applied on a few patients showing good correlation between both parameters and the clinical and biological features of the patients.

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