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

21 Scopus citations


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 (US)
Pages (from-to)1055-1064
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Type 1
  • Type 2
  • copper
  • diabetes
  • free copper

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Diabetes and Alzheimer's Disease: Can Elevated Free Copper Predict the Risk of the Disease?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this