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Levels of copper in the brain are linked to Parkinson's disease

Levels of copper in the brain are linked to Parkinson's disease


Copper levels in the brain and ferroxidase enzyme activity are linked to disease severity in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. Research by Boll and colleagues suggests that ferroxidase activity is reduced in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of PD patients and copper levels are subsequently increased.

Thirty five untreated PD patients, 14 levodopa-treated PD patients, and 26 controls were examined in this study. In untreated PD patients, ferroxidase activity was lowered (by 40%) in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) while copper levels in the CSF were slightly raised when compared with PD patients on levodopa therapy and healthy subjects. Both CSF ferroxidase activity and CSF copper content correlated with the clinical stage of the disease.

The formation of free radicals from metals such as copper may be a possible causal factor in the death of nigral cells in the brain, which is associated with PD. Iron deposits have been documented in the basal ganglia of PD patients, and reduced levels of copper in the substantia nigra area of the brain have been noted, while its concentration in the CSF is raised. This study has shown that the amount of copper and ferroxidase levels in the CSF are inversely related to disease severity in PD patients.

Source: Boll et al. Neuroscience letters 1999;265(3):155?158. Updated May 1999

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