November 26, 2014
Science Daily/DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Proper copper levels are essential to the health of the brain at rest, new research shows. The brain consumes 20-percent of the oxygen taken in through respiration. This high demand for oxygen and oxidative metabolism has resulted in the brain harboring the body's highest levels of copper, as well as iron and zinc. Over the past few years, researchers have developed a series of fluorescent probes for molecular imaging of copper in the brain.
In recent years it has been established that copper plays an essential role in the health of the human brain. Improper copper oxidation has been linked to several neurological disorders including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Menkes' and Wilson's. Copper has also been identified as a critical ingredient in the enzymes that activate the brain's neurotransmitters in response to stimuli. Now a new study by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has shown that proper copper levels are also essential to the health of the brain at rest.
"The results of our study show that there are significant and similar preventive effects of PE and CT," the authors conclude. "Our finding suggests that delaying the intervention does not increase the risk of chronic PTSD…Thus, a delayed intervention is an acceptable option when early clinical interventions cannot be provided (e.g., during wars, disasters, or continuous hostilities)."
The results of this study suggest that the mismanagement of copper in the brain that has been linked to Wilson's, Alzheimer's and other neurological disorders can also contribute to misregulation of signaling in cell−to-cell communications.
"Our results hold therapeutic implications in that whether a patient needs copper supplements or copper chelators depends on how much copper is present and where in the brain it is located," Chang says. "These findings also highlight the continuing need to develop molecular imaging probes as pilot screening tools to help uncover unique and unexplored metal biology in living systems."