Why this test?
For the diagnosis of Wilson-Konovalov disease (usually together with the ceruloplasmin test).
To assess the patient's condition when copper poisoning is suspected, as well as when it is lacking or when there are disorders affecting copper metabolism (together with the ceruloplasmin test).
To monitor the effectiveness of the treatment of Wilson-Konovalov disease and the pathological condition caused by an excess of copper or its excessive loss.
In what cases is it prescribed?
The analysis is prescribed together with other tests (ceruloplasmin), in the presence of symptoms of Wilson-Konovalov disease, suspicion of acute copper poisoning, and also to assess the body's supply of this trace element.
Copper is an important cation that is part of many enzymes. They take an active part in the metabolism of iron, the formation of connective tissue, the production of energy at the cellular level, the production of melanin (the pigment responsible for the color of the skin) and in the normal functioning of the nervous system.
The main sources of copper for humans are such foods as nuts, chocolate, mushrooms, liver, cereals and dried fruits. Also, copper can enter the body with water, if it has come into contact with copper-containing objects (for example, dishes). After entering the gastrointestinal tract, copper is absorbed in the small intestine and, combining with blood proteins, is transported to the liver. Most of the copper in the blood is bound to ceruloplasmin (about 95%), the smaller part is bound to serum albumins or is in a free state. With excessive intake of copper with food, the liver secretes its excess with bile and it is removed from the body with feces and urine.
Insufficiency of copper, as well as its excess, are rare pathological conditions. Oversaturation of the body with copper, associated with a violation of its metabolism, or chronic poisoning is more common. Hereditary disease that leads to increased deposition of copper in body tissues is called Wilson-Konovalov disease (Wilson-Konovalov). Its main symptoms are: anemia, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice, increased fatigue, sudden changes in mood, trembling of the limbs, swallowing disorders, unsteady gait, dystonia, the appearance of a specific color of the iris of the eyes.
When the kidneys are involved in the pathological process, the formation of urine can be disturbed up to anuria. Some of these symptoms are sometimes also found in acute or chronic copper poisoning, which occurs due to environmental pollution, as well as due to liver diseases that interfere with the metabolism of the trace element. Copper deficiency can occur suddenly in people suffering from diseases that cause severe malabsorption (cystic fibrosis, celiac disease). These diseases are accompanied by neutropenia, osteoporosis and microcytic anemia.
A rare genetic pathology linked to the X-chromosome, Menkes disease (curly hair disease) leads to copper deficiency in children with tuberculosis. This disease, which mainly affects men, is manifested by seizures, developmental delay, dysplasia of cerebral arteries and unusually brittle, curly hair.
An insufficient amount of copper in the blood threatens the formation of defective erythrocytes with a short life span, as well as a decrease in the activity of enzymes containing this trace element in their composition.