Research Highlight

Blood protein tells copper story

Subhra Priyadarshini

doi:10.1038/nindia.2008.186 Published online 22 April 2008

A blood glycoprotein, to which copper is bound during transport and storage, holds vital information about the copper exposure of an individual, a news study has found. The study confirms that the glycoprotein — ceruloplasmin — is a predictor of occupational copper exposure, something that occupational health experts could use to develop diagnostic tools for workers of copper handling industries.

Scientists have earlier reported the potential of blood serum ceruloplasmin as a suitable marker to estimate copper status in the human system. Researchers at the National Institute of Occupation Health in Ahmedabad have now found that serum copper and serum ceruloplasmin values are correlated.

The researchers interviews 185 employees of a copper handling industry and estimated individual values for serum alkaline phosphatase, serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (SGPT), serum ceruloplasmin and serum copper. After adjustment for other predictors like age, nature of job (department), job duration, smoking, serum alkaline phosphatase and SGPT, they found a positive correlation between serum copper and serum ceruloplasmin.

They reported that serum ceruloplasmin level can act as a reliable indicator of copper status in the human body following copper exposure in cases of chronic moderate occupational exposure to copper.


  1. Saha, A. et al. Ceruloplasmin as a marker of occupational copper exposure. J. Expo. Sci. Env. Epid. 18, 332-337 (2008)