Ceruloplasmin is a copper-containing enzyme protein, which is synthesized in the liver. In the liver, copper bounds to protein, forming a ceruloplasmin complex and then enters the bloodstream. Its most important function is to maintain the optimal iron balance of the body. Since copper is present in the blood in a 95% bound form of ceruloplasmin, this test is used, among other things, to diagnose Wilson’s disease. Wilson’s disease is a rare, genetically inherited disease in which copper accumulates in various organ systems (liver, brain, nervous system) of the human body due to a congenital deficiency of ceruloplasmin.
What does the test show?
The test shows the ceruloplasmin level of blood.
In which cases is it recommended to perform the test?
The physician may request the determination of the level of ceruloplasmin if Wilson’s disease is suspected in case of the following symptoms: jaundice, fatigue, anaemia, behavioural disorder, nausea, tremors, etc.
Rarely, it might be ordered with a copper test if copper deficiency is suspected, but also for the diagnosis of Menkes syndrome (X chromosome-related recessively inherited copper deficiency).
What sample is needed for the test?
A blood sample taken from a vein is needed for the test.
What can the result indicate?
Low levels of ceruloplasmin may indicate Wilson’s disease and Menkes syndrome, however, it is not enough to determine the level of ceruloplasmin to diagnose the former, further tests are required.
Elevated levels of ceruloplasmin are caused by, among other things, inflammation, infections, and cancer, but also pregnancy and taking oral contraceptives.
What to do after the test?
The test alone cannot diagnose any diseases, and in all cases consult an internist or haematologist to determine the exact diagnosis and necessary therapy.