In this profile circulating levels of caeruloplasmin are assessed, along with the activity of four antioxidant enzymes. These measurements can be used as a guide to the preventative antioxidant activity of the blood, as well as the possible response to oxidative stress and to micronutrient deficiencies. In addition, vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), alpha-carotene and beta-carotene are measured.
Most of the copper in plasma is present as the ferro-oxidase enzyme caeruloplasmin, which is a positive acute phase reactant and hence rises in concentration in the plasma during inflammation [1,2]. This process reflects the movement of copper from inside the cells into the extra-cellular fluid. The ferro-oxidase action of caeruloplasmin circulating in the serum is to catalyse the reaction:
4 Fe2+ + 4 H+ + O2 = 4 Fe3+ + 2 H2O,
thereby keeping available iron in the Fe(III) state, in which it can be incorporated into transferrin. This reaction also blocks the damaging effects of ferrous iron - Fe(II) - which can take part in Fenton reactions and cause propagation of reactive oxygen and reactive nitrogen species.
Every aerobic cell contains superoxide dismutase (SOD), which is required for the detoxification of the oxygen metabolite superoxide (O2-). Superoxide leaks" from the mitochondrial electron transport chain
primarily at complex I (NADH-coenzyme Q) and to a lesser extent at complex II (succinate-coenzyme Q) and complex III (coenzyme QH2-cytochrome C reductase). The superoxide radical anion O2- - plays a central role in the development of oxidative stress since other reactive oxygen species appear to be derived from it. Copper (with zinc and manganese) is an essential component of SOD [3
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