Copper binding components of blood plasma and organs, and their responses to influx of large doses of 65Cu, in the mouse
The copper binding components of serum and potential importance of albumin to copper transport were investigated in adult Nagase analbuminemic and Sprague-Dawley rats of both sexes. There was a sex difference in total plasma copper concentrations, which were 60 and 130% higher than in the parent strain, in male and female Nagase rats, respectively. The higher levels of plasma copper were accounted for by two- and threefold increases in ceruloplasmin, as measured by p-phenylenediamine oxidase activity and copper by atomic absorption after gel chromatography. Other nonalbumin plasma proteins were also present in higher concentrations. Albumin concentrations were one-four-thousandth that of Sprague-Dawley rats, at 15 micrograms/ml (determined by rocket immunoelectrophoresis and comparative Western blotting). The tissue distribution and rate of uptake of intravenously injected 67 Cu(II) were unaffected by the lack of circulating albumin. 67Cu entered the liver of Nagase rats at least as rapidly as in the parent strain and reemerged in the blood on ceruloplasmin at an accelerated rate. The initial binding of 67Cu(II) to plasma components was primarily to transcuprein compared with albumin in the case of Sprague-Dawley rats. In the Nagase rats, the rest of the 67Cu bound primarily to nonalbumin proteins with about the same size as albumin; in Sprague-Dawley rats, it bound primarily to transcuprein. Limited analyses of tissue copper confirmed previous reports showing no striking differences from the parent strain. We conclude that albumin is not critical to the normal distribution and metabolism of copper and that it may serve more as a reservoir for excess plasma copper than as a specific conduit for the delivery of this element to hepatocytes or other cells.