Diabetes and Alzheimer's Disease: Can Elevated Free Copper Predict the Risk of the Disease?

Rosanna Squitti, Armando J. Mendez, Ilaria Simonelli, Camillo Ricordi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Defective copper regulation, primarily referred to as chelatable redox active Cu(II), has been involved in the etiology of diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease (AD).

OBJECTIVES: However, no study has determined levels of labile copper non-bound to ceruloplasmin (non-Cp Cu, also known as 'free' copper) in the blood of subjects with diabetes compared with that of AD patients.

METHODS: To this aim, values of non-Cp Cu were measured in 25 Type 1 (T1D) and 31 Type 2 (T2D) subjects and in28 healthy controls, along with measurements of C-reactive protein, glycated hemoglobin A1c, cholesterol, and triglycerides. Non-Cp Cu levels were compared with those of an AD group previously studied.

RESULTS: T2D subjects had significantly higher non-Cp Cu levels than Controls and T1D subjects (both p < 0.001 after adjusting for age, sex, and body mass index). A multinomial logistic model revealed that a one unit standard deviation increase of non-Cp Cu increased the relative risk of having T2D by 9.64 with respect to Controls (95% CI: 2.86-32.47). The comparison of non-Cp Cu levels in T2D with those of an AD population previously studied shows rising blood non-Cp Cu copper levels from Controls to T2D and AD.

CONCLUSION: These results suggest the involvement of catalytically-active Cu(II) and glucose dysregulation in oxidative stress reactions leading to tissue damage in both diseases.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Dec 16 2016


  • Journal Article


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