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Ceruloplasmin Blood Test

Last updated May 4, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Idaho National Laboratory

Ceruloplasmin test is used to measure the amount of Ceruloplasmin protein, a copper-containing enzyme in blood. In rare cases, a Ceruloplasmin test is also in case of deficient body copper levels.

What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Caeruloplasmin Test
  • Ceruloplasmin Test

What is Ceruloplasmin Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Ceruloplasmin test is used to measure the amount of Ceruloplasmin protein, a copper-containing enzyme in blood. Ceruloplasmin is produced in the liver and helps in transporting copper in the body. It also aids in iron metabolism
  • Ceruloplasmin test is mostly used to diagnose Wilson’s disease. It is used when the disease is suspected, based on clinical signs and symptoms. Additionally, other tests to measure copper levels in blood and/or urine are also ordered, for diagnoses and evaluation
  • Wilson’s disease is a genetic disorder of copper metabolism where Ceruloplasmin levels in the body decreases, causing accumulation of copper in various organs like liver, brain, kidneys, and eyes. This results in damaging effects due to toxic accumulation of copper. In Wilson’s disease, blood copper levels show a decrease, while 24 hour urine copper levels remain high
  • Copper is absorbed from the digestive tract and is required in the body for many different functions, including formation of various enzymes. About 95% of copper in the body is bound to Ceruloplasmin protein. Processes in the body affecting the absorption or metabolism of copper in the body may affect Ceruloplasmin and copper levels in the body
  • Ceruloplasmin test is also used (infrequently) in case of deficient body copper levels

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Ceruloplasmin Blood Test?

Ceruloplasmin test is usually ordered along with test for copper levels, for diagnosis of Wilson’s disease. Some of the signs and symptoms associated with Wilson’s disease are:

  • Anemia (causing weakness and fatigue)
  • Abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting
  • Yellowness of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Behavioral changes, mood swings
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Abnormal muscle contractions
  • Tremors

If diagnosis of Wilson disease is confirmed and treatment started, Ceruloplasmin test is ordered (along with copper test) on a regular basis, to monitor the disease and determine treatment effectiveness.

Ceruloplasmin test may also be ordered (along with copper test) in some cases of copper deficiency, as a diagnostic tool.

How is the Specimen Collected for Ceruloplasmin Blood Test?

Sample required: Blood

Process: Insertion of needle into the vein (arm)

Preparation required: None

What is the Significance of the Ceruloplasmin Blood Test Result?

  • A test result of Ceruloplasmin level by itself is not diagnostic of any particular condition
  • However, a low Ceruloplasmin level along with an increased copper level in urine is diagnostic of Wilson’s disease
  • It should be noted that sometimes, individuals with Wilson’s disease have normal Ceruloplasmin levels. In such cases, a diagnosis is made mainly on the basis of clinical signs and symptoms presented, and copper levels in blood and/or urine
  • Low Ceruloplasmin levels along with low copper levels in the blood and/or urine indicates copper deficiency

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

Ceruloplasmin levels may be increased in the body during conditions such as:

  • Tissue damage
  • Injury or trauma
  • Inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Severe infections
  • Cancers
  • Use of medications such as oral contraceptives, estrogen, carbamazapine, valproic acid
  • Pregnancy

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider, the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

Please visit our Laboratory Procedures Center for more physician-approved health information:


References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: May 20, 2013
Last updated: May 4, 2018