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Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte

Print version ISSN 1517-8692On-line version ISSN 1806-9940


KOURY, Josely Correa; OLIVEIRA, Cyntia Ferreira de  and  DONANGELO, Carmen Marino. Association between copper plasma concentration and copper-dependent metaloproteins in elite athletes. Rev Bras Med Esporte [online]. 2007, vol.13, n.4, pp.259-262. ISSN 1517-8692.

Copper is a trace element essential in several biological processes, some of them important for physical activity, such as energy metabolism, iron homeostasis and antioxidant protection through the plasma ceruloplasmin, erythrocyte Cu-Zn superoxide dismutase (Cu-Zn SOD) and metallothionein. However, copper also participates in oxidative reactions releasing free radicals, which may adversely affect cell integrity and function. Physical activity is known to affect copper homeostasis and may interfere in the copper antioxidant capacity. Intense physical activity results in higher oxygen consumption, which favors the release of free radicals and may cause irreversible damage to the body when the natural mechanisms of protection, including those copper-dependent, are not properly stimulated. Few studies related exercise with plasma copper level and copper-dependent metalloproteins in elite athletes. The present study aimed at evaluating the association between different levels of plasma copper and copper-dependent metalloproteins in male elite athletes (n = 50). The biochemical indices studied were plasma copper and ceruloplasmin, and erythrocyte Cu-Zn superoxide dismutase and metallothionein by validated methods. The results showed that 32% of the athletes had plasma copper levels lower than 11µmol/L, 38% between 11-13 µmol/L and 30% higher than 13 µmol/L. Plasma copper was associated with plasma ceruloplasmin level (r = 0.31, p = 0.004), and with Cu-Zn SOD (r = -0.32, p = 0.02); metallothionein erythrocyte were associated with Cu-Zn SOD (r = 0.73, p = 0.001) and with ceruloplasmin (r = 0.40, p = 0.006). These results suggest that both plasma and erythrocyte antioxidant capacity favor homeostatic adjustments in agreement with plasma copper levels in elite athletes.

Keywords : Metalloproteins; Metallothionein; Ceruloplasmin; Cu-Zn superoxide dismutase.

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