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International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Volume 2011, Article ID 150916, 4 pages
Research Article

Gender Effects on Plasma and Brain Copper

Department of Neurology, Portland VA Medical Center and Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA

Received 16 June 2011; Accepted 16 August 2011

Academic Editor: Rosanna Squitti

Copyright © 2011 Joseph F. Quinn et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The effect of gender on systemic and brain levels of copper is relatively understudied. We examined gender effects in mice and human subjects. We observed a trend to higher serum copper levels in female compared to male LaFerla “triple transgenic” (1399±233 versus 804±436 ng/mL, P=0.06) mice, and significantly higher brain copper levels in female- versus male wild-type mice (5.2±0.2 versus 4.18±0.3 ng/mg wet wt, P=0.03). Plasma copper was significantly correlated with brain copper in mice (R2 = 0.218; P=0.038). Among human subjects with AD, both plasma copper (1284±118 versus 853±81 ng/mL, P=0.005) and cerebrospinal fluid copper (12.8±1 versus 10.4±0.7 ng/mL, P=0.01) were elevated in women compared to men. Among healthy control subjects, plasma copper (1008±51 versus 836±41 ng/mL; P=0.01) was higher in women than in men, but there was no difference in cerebrospinal fluid copper. We conclude that gender differences in copper status may influence copper-mediated pathological events in the brain.