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At a Glance
Why Get Tested?
To measure the amount of ceruloplasmin in the blood; to help diagnose Wilson’s disease; sometimes to help identify other conditions associated with copper deficiencies
When To Get Tested?
When you have jaundice, fatigue, abdominal pain, behavioral changes, tremors, or other symptoms that your doctor thinks may be due to Wilson’s disease or, rarely, to copper deficiency; at intervals when monitoring is recommended
Sample Required?
A blood sample drawn from a vein in your arm
What is being tested?
This test measures the amount of ceruloplasmin in the blood. Ceruloplasmin is a copper-containing enzyme that plays a role in the body’s iron metabolism. Copper is an essential mineral that is absorbed into the body through diet. It is absorbed in the intestines and then transported to the liver, where it is stored or used in the production of a variety of enzymes. The liver binds copper to apoceruloplasmin to produce ceruloplasmin and then releases it into the bloodstream. About 95% of the copper in the blood is bound to ceruloplasmin. Because of this, the ceruloplasmin test can be used along with one or more copper tests to help diagnose Wilson’s disease and evaluate copper metabolism.

How is the sample collected for testing?

A blood sample is obtained by inserting a needle into a vein in the arm.

Is any test preparation needed to ensure the quality of the sample?

No test preparation is needed.
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Common Questions
  • How is it used?
    Ceruloplasmin is primarily ordered along with blood and/or urine copper tests to help diagnose Wilson’s disease, an inherited disorder associated with decreased levels of ceruloplasmin and excess storage of copper in the liver, brain, and other organs. Rarely, it may be ordered to help diagnose or differentiate between conditions associated with copper deficiencies.
  • When is it ordered?
    It is ordered along with copper tests when someone has signs and symptoms that the doctor suspects may be due to Wilson’s disease such as:

  • anemia
  • nausea, abdominal pain
  • jaundice
  • fatigue
  • behavioral changes
  • tremors
  • difficulty walking and/or swallowing
  • dystonia
  • Rarely, ceruloplasmin may also be ordered along with copper tests when your doctor suspects that you have a copper deficiency and periodically if monitoring is recommended.

  • What does the test result mean?
    Low ceruloplasmin levels are not diagnostic of a specific condition and are usually evaluated along with copper tests.

    Test results may include:

  • If ceruloplasmin and blood copper concentrations are decreased, urine copper levels are increased, then the patient may have Wilson’s disease.
  • About 5% of the patients with Wilson’s disease who have neurological symptoms will have normal ceruloplasmin levels as will up to 40% of those with hepatic symptoms.
  • If ceruloplasmin and urine and/or blood copper concentrations are low, then the patient may have a copper deficiency.
  • Anything that interferes with the supply of copper or with the body’s ability to metabolize copper has the potential to affect blood ceruloplasmin and copper concentrations.
  • Is there anything else I should know?
    Ceruloplasmin may be increased in a variety of circumstances where the test is not used as a clinical tool. These may include:

  • Ceruloplasmin is an acute phase reactant. It is frequently elevated when someone has inflammation, severe infection, tissue damage, and may be increased with some cancers.
  • It may be increased during pregnancy and with the use of estrogen, oral contraceptives, and medications such as carbamazepine, phenobarbital, and valproic acid.
  • Ceruloplasmin is not a routine test. Unless your doctor suspects that you have Wilson’s disease or a problem with your copper metabolism, it is likely that you will not ever have this test performed.

  • Do I need to have a liver biopsy?
    If Wilson’s disease is strongly suspected based upon blood, urine, and imaging test results, a liver biopsy may be performed to evaluate hepatic copper content.