The Copper, RBC test contains 1 test with 1 biomarker.
Description: Copper RBC is a blood test that measures the amount of copper in the blood's red blood cells. Copper levels in the blood can help to diagnose Wilson's Disease.
Also Known As: Cu RBC Test, Cu Test, Blood Copper Test, RBC Copper Test, Hepatic Copper Test, Copper Blood Test
Collection Method: Blood Draw
Specimen Type: Red Blood Cells
Test Preparation: No preparation required
Average Processing Time: 4 to 5 days
When is a Copper RBC test ordered?
When a health practitioner suspects Wilson disease, excess copper storage, or copper poisoning, one or more copper tests are requested along with ceruloplasmin.
When copper and ceruloplasmin results are abnormal or inconclusive, a hepatic copper test may be conducted to further evaluate copper storage.
What does a Copper RBC blood test check for?
Copper is an important mineral that the body uses to make enzymes. These enzymes are involved in the regulation of iron metabolism, the development of connective tissue, cellular energy production, the production of melanin, and nervous system function. This test determines how much copper is present in the blood, urine, or liver.
Nuts, chocolate, mushrooms, seafood, whole grains, dried fruits, and liver are all high in copper. Copper may be absorbed into drinking water as it passes through copper pipes, and copper may be absorbed into food as it is cooked or served on copper dishes. Copper is absorbed from food or liquids in the intestines, converted to a non-toxic form by binding it to a protein, and transported to the liver in normal circumstances. To make the enzyme ceruloplasmin, the liver saves some copper and binds the remainder to another protein called apoceruloplasmin. Ceruloplasmin binds about 95 percent of the copper in the blood, with the rest attached to other proteins like albumin. In a free condition, only a little amount is present in the blood. Excess copper is excreted by the liver in the bile, which is then excreted by the body in the feces. Copper is also excreted in the urine in small amounts.
Copper excess and deficiency are uncommon. Wilson disease is a rare genetic ailment that causes the liver, brain, and other organs to store too much copper. Excess copper can arise when a person is exposed to and absorbs high amounts of copper in a short period of time or little amounts over a long period of time.
Copper deficiency can arise in patients with severe malabsorption diseases such cystic fibrosis and celiac disease, as well as infants who are exclusively fed cow-milk formulas.
Menkes kinky hair syndrome is a rare X-linked hereditary disorder that causes copper shortage in the brain and liver of affected babies. Seizures, delayed development, aberrant artery growth in the brain, and unique gray brittle kinky hair are all symptoms of the condition, which mostly affects men.
Lab tests often ordered with a Copper RBC test:
- Heavy Metals
- Growth Hormone
Conditions where a Copper RBC test is recommended:
- Wilson Disease
How does my health care provider use a Copper RBC test?
Copper testing is largely used to detect Wilson disease, a rare genetic ailment in which the liver, brain, and other organs accumulate an excessive amount of copper. A copper test is less usually used to detect copper excess caused by another ailment, to diagnose a copper deficit, or to track treatment for one of these conditions.
Copper is a necessary mineral, but too much of it can be harmful. The majority of it is bound to the enzyme ceruloplasmin in the blood, leaving only a little quantity "free" or unbound.
A whole blood copper test is usually ordered in conjunction with a ceruloplasmin level. If the findings of these tests are abnormal or ambiguous, a 24-hour urine copper test to monitor copper elimination and/or a copper test on a liver biopsy to check copper storage in the liver may be conducted.
A free blood copper test is sometimes ordered as well. If Wilson disease is suspected, genetic testing for mutations in the ATP7B gene may be undertaken. However, these tests are only available in a restricted number of locations and are usually carried out in specialized reference or research laboratories.
A copper test may be used to identify Menkes kinky hair syndrome, a rare inherited copper transport failure condition.
What do my Copper RBC test results mean?
Copper test findings are frequently linked to ceruloplasmin levels and considered in context. Copper results that are abnormal are not indicative of a specific illness; rather, they signal that more research is needed. Because ceruloplasmin is an acute phase reactant, it might be raised if inflammation or severe infections are present, making interpretation difficult. Ceruloplasmin and copper levels rise during pregnancy, as well as with the use of estrogen and oral contraceptives.
Wilson disease is characterized by low blood copper concentrations, elevated urine copper levels, low ceruloplasmin levels, and increased liver copper.
Elevated copper concentrations in the blood and urine, as well as normal or increased ceruloplasmin levels, may suggest excessive copper exposure or be linked to disorders that reduce copper excretion, such as chronic liver disease, or release copper from tissues, such as acute hepatitis. Chronic diseases can cause an increase in hepatic copper levels.
Copper deficiency is indicated by lower copper concentrations in the blood and urine, as well as lower ceruloplasmin levels.
A normal hepatic copper test could mean that copper metabolism is normal, or that the distribution of copper in the liver is uneven, and that the sample isn't reflective of the person's health.
If a person is being treated for Wilson disease or copper toxicity with copper-binding medicines, their 24-hour urine copper levels may be high until their body copper stores are depleted. Copper concentrations in the blood and urine should return to normal over time.
If a person is being treated for a copper deficient disorder and their ceruloplasmin and total copper levels start to rise, the condition is likely responding to the treatment.
We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.