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To explain the esentiality of copper in terms of its biochemical role in several oxidase enzymes to identify metallothionein as a cellular protein induced by several divalent metals


  • has a redox role in several oxidase enzymes

Oxidase enzymes


RBC Superoxide Dismutase

  • accounts for 60% of RBC copper and also contains Zinc
  • Destroys superoxide anion radicals

Cytochrome Oxidase

  • terminal enzyme in the respiratory chain that donates electrons to oxygen

Dopamine beta-hydroxylase

  • in catecholamine synthesis in nervous tissue (norepinephrine) and the adrenal medulla (epinephrine)


  • Involved in the biosynthesis of melanin

Lysyl Oxidase


Dietary Sources

  • Both animal tissue (shellfish) and plants (grains) are good sources
  • usually absorbed easily
  • balance is maintained between absorption and excretion in bile


  • Copper deficiency causes a hypochromic microcytic anemia (ceruloplasmin?)
  • Also causes a neutropenia (low circulating levels of neutrophils) because of effects on the marrow