Serum Copper and Caeruloplasmin levels in Pregnant, Lactating and Non-Pregnant Nigerian women

  • IC Onwuameze Department of Chemical Pathology, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus
  • SN Okereke Department of Chemical Pathology, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus
  • MC Ugonabo Department of Chemical Pathology, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus
Keywords: Copper, Caeruloplasmin, Pregnancy


Objective: To determine the serum levels of copper and caeruloplasmin in pregnant and lactating women from South Eastern Nigeria.

Methods Serum copper and Caeruloplasmin levels from 60 pregnant women at various stages of pregnancy and sixty (60) nursing mothers in their immediate postnatal period, all aged between 20 and 45 years were determined.

For control, a total of 60 healthy non-pregnant women matched for age were used for the study.

Results: A comparison of the results obtained from the subjects with that from the control group showed that the mean serum copper levels in the 2nd and 3rd trimester groups were significantly higher than the non-pregnant and control groups. Interestingly, the mean values obtained from the post-natal group, though lower than those for the 3rd trimester group, were still higher than the values for the controls. For example, mean serum copper in umol/L for 2nd trimester (n=60) is 20.3 ± 5.9 (p< 0.05); 3rd trimester (n = 60) is 26.4 ± 5.6; post-natal women (n = 60) is 25.4 ± 4.9 (p < 0.05); and controls (n = 60) is 19.3 ± 5.8.

Similarly, mean serum caeruloplasmin levels in all the pregnant groups as well as in the post-natal group were significantly higher than in the control group. Mean serum caeruloplasmin levels (g/L) in the 1st trimester is 0.73 ± 0.16; in the 2nd trimester 0.98 ± 0.18 (p < 0.05); in 3rd trimester 1.04 ± 0.26 (p < 0.01); in the post-natal group 0.56 ± 0.16; and in the controls 0.41 ± 0.15.

Conclusion: Serum copper and caeruloplasmin is elevated in all stages of pregnancy and in lactating women, the increase being highest in the third trimester of pregnancy.

Key Words: Copper, Caeruloplasmin, Pregnancy

Orient Journal of Medicine Vol.15(1&2) 2003: 9-12

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eISSN: 1115-0521