Copper is a transition metal that has been linked to pathological and beneficial effects in neurodegenerative diseases. In Parkinson's disease, free copper is related to increased oxidative stress, alpha-synuclein oligomerization, and Lewy body formation. Decreased copper along with increased iron has been found in substantia nigra and caudate nucleus of Parkinson's disease patients. Copper influences iron content in the brain through ferroxidase ceruloplasmin activity; therefore decreased protein-bound copper in brain may enhance iron accumulation and the associated oxidative stress. The function of other copper-binding proteins such as Cu/Zn-SOD and metallothioneins is also beneficial to prevent neurodegeneration. Copper may regulate neurotransmission since it is released after neuronal stimulus and the metal is able to modulate the function of NMDA and GABA A receptors. Some of the proteins involved in copper transport are the transporters CTR1, ATP7A, and ATP7B and the chaperone ATOX1. There is limited information about the role of those biomolecules in the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease; for instance, it is known that CTR1 is decreased in substantia nigra pars compacta in Parkinson's disease and that a mutation in ATP7B could be associated with Parkinson's disease. Regarding copper-related therapies, copper supplementation can represent a plausible alternative, while copper chelation may even aggravate the pathology. © 2014 Sergio Montes et al.
Montes, S., Rivera-Mancia, S., Diaz-Ruiz, A., Tristan-Lopez, L., & Rios, C. (2014). Copper and copper proteins in Parkinson’s disease. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/147251