Perinatal Copper Deficiency Alters Rat Cerebellar Purkinje Cell Size and Distribution
We determined the concentrations of copper, the activities of ceruloplasmin and peptidylglycine α-amidating monooxygenase (PAM), and the stimulation index of PAM by the in vitro addition of copper in plasma samples obtained from three male patients with occipital horns and a milder Menkes disease phenotype, having severe copper deficiency due to the defect in copper transport. We found a decreased plasma ceruloplasmin activity and an increased copper stimulation index of plasma PAM in these patients compared with healthy control subjects. The combination of these two determinations may provide a means for the assessment of copper nutriture in humans using blood samples obtained in a single microhematocrit tube. Further investigation is warranted to evaluate whether these noninvasive measurements can be used for the diagnosis of mild copper deficiency in humans with sufficient specificity and sensitivity.