Ceruloplasmin

From WikiMD's Wellness Encyclopedia

Ceruloplasmin is a protein that plays a critical role in the body's iron metabolism and has antioxidant properties. It is a copper-carrying plasma protein and is synthesized mainly in the liver. Ceruloplasmin facilitates the transport of iron from tissues to the plasma and aids in the incorporation of iron into transferrin, the main iron transport protein. This protein is also involved in the oxidation of ferrous iron (Fe2+) to ferric iron (Fe3+), making it available for binding by transferrin. The normal concentration of ceruloplasmin in human plasma is between 20 and 60 mg/dL.

Function[edit | edit source]

Ceruloplasmin has several important functions in the body. Its primary role is to bind copper, with each molecule capable of carrying six atoms of copper. This binding is essential for the transport of copper to various tissues and for preventing copper toxicity. Additionally, ceruloplasmin exhibits ferroxidase activity, which is crucial for iron metabolism. By oxidizing Fe2+ to Fe3+, ceruloplasmin facilitates the release of iron from storage sites and its subsequent binding to transferrin. This process is vital for the proper distribution of iron throughout the body and for the prevention of iron accumulation in tissues, which can lead to organ damage.

Clinical Significance[edit | edit source]

Alterations in ceruloplasmin levels can be indicative of various medical conditions. Low levels of ceruloplasmin are associated with Wilson's disease, a genetic disorder characterized by excessive copper accumulation in tissues, leading to liver and brain damage. Conversely, elevated ceruloplasmin levels can be observed in conditions of acute and chronic inflammation, pregnancy, and certain types of cancer. It is also used as a biomarker in the diagnosis and monitoring of these conditions.

Ceruloplasmin testing is often part of the diagnostic workup for patients suspected of having Wilson's disease or other disorders related to copper metabolism. The test measures the level of ceruloplasmin in the blood and is usually accompanied by other tests that assess liver function and copper levels in the blood and urine.

Genetic Aspects[edit | edit source]

The gene responsible for ceruloplasmin production is located on chromosome 3 in humans. Mutations in this gene can lead to decreased ceruloplasmin levels and affect its structure and function, contributing to the pathogenesis of Wilson's disease and other disorders.

Treatment and Management[edit | edit source]

Management of conditions associated with abnormal ceruloplasmin levels focuses on addressing the underlying cause. In Wilson's disease, treatment may involve the use of chelating agents to remove excess copper from the body or zinc supplements to block copper absorption. Regular monitoring of ceruloplasmin and copper levels is essential for patients undergoing treatment for copper metabolism disorders.

See Also[edit | edit source]


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD