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International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 292593, 8 pages
Research Article

Glutamate-Mediated Primary Somatosensory Cortex Excitability Correlated with Circulating Copper and Ceruloplasmin

1Laboratory for Electrophysiology for Translational neuroScience (LET'S), Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione (ISTC), Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Fatebenefratelli Hospital Isola Tiberina, Rome, Italy
2Neurology, Department of Imaging, San Raffaele Cassino, Rome, Italy
3Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Institue of Neurology, Campus Bio-Medico of Rome University, Rome, Italy
4Department of Neuroscience and Imaging, G. D'Annunzio University, Chieti, Italy
5Associazione Fatebenefratelli per la Ricerca biomedica (AFaR), Department of Neuroscience, Fatebenefratelli Hospital Isola Tiberina, Rome, Italy

Received 15 May 2011; Revised 8 August 2011; Accepted 29 August 2011

Academic Editor: D. Larry Sparks

Copyright © 2011 Franca Tecchio 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.


Objective. To verify whether markers of metal homeostasis are related to a magnetoencephalographic index representative of glutamate-mediated excitability of the primary somatosensory cortex. The index is identified as the source strength of the earliest component (M20) of the somatosensory magnetic fields (SEFs) evoked by right median nerve stimulation at wrist. Method. Thirty healthy right-handed subjects (51±22 years) were enrolled in the study. A source reconstruction algorithm was applied to assess the amount of synchronously activated neurons subtending the M20 and the following SEF component (M30), which is generated by two independent contributions of gabaergic and glutamatergic transmission. Serum copper, ceruloplasmin, iron, transferrin, transferrin saturation, and zinc levels were measured. Results. Total copper and ceruloplasmin negatively correlated with the M20 source strength. Conclusion. This pilot study suggests that higher level of body copper reserve, as marked by ceruloplasmin variations, parallels lower cortical glutamatergic responsiveness.