Formal Name
Caeruloplasmin
This article was last reviewed on
This article waslast modified on 7 January 2018.
At a Glance
Why Get Tested?

Blood caeruloplasmin levels are measured; to help diagnose Wilson’s disease or conditions associated with copper deficiencies

When To Get Tested?

When you have jaundice, tiredness, tummy pain, behavioural changes, tremors, or other symptoms that your doctor thinks may be due to Wilson’s disease or copper deficiency. At intervals when monitoring a copper related disease or its treatment.

Sample Required?

A blood sample taken from a vein in your arm

Test Preparation Needed?

No test preparation is needed

On average it takes 7 working days for the blood test results to come back from the hospital, depending on the exact tests requested. Some specialist test results may take longer, if samples have to be sent to a reference (specialist) laboratory. The X-ray & scan results may take longer. If you are registered to use the online services of your local practice, you will be able to access your results online.

If the doctor wants to see you about the result(s), you will be offered an appointment. If you are concerned about your test results, you will need to arrange an appointment with your doctor so that all relevant information including age, ethnicity, health history, signs and symptoms, laboratory and other procedures (radiology, endoscopy, etc.), can be considered.

Lab Tests Online-UK is an educational website designed to provide patients and carers with information on laboratory tests used in medical care. We are not a laboratory and are unable to comment on an individual's health and treatment.

Reference ranges are dependent on many factors, including patient age, gender, sample population, and test method, and numeric test results can have different meanings in different laboratories.

For these reasons, you will not find reference ranges for the majority of tests described on this web site. The lab report containing your test results should include the relevant reference range for your test(s). Please consult your doctor or the laboratory that performed the test(s) to obtain the reference range if you do not have the lab report.

For more information on reference ranges, please read Reference Ranges and What They Mean.

What is being tested?

This test measures the amount of caeruloplasmin in the blood. Caeruloplasmin is a copper-containing enzyme that plays a role in iron metabolism. Copper is an essential mineral that is absorbed in the intestines and then carried to the liver, where it is stored or used to make a variety of enzymes. The liver binds copper to apocaeruloplasmin to produce caeruloplasmin which is then released into the bloodstream. About 95% of the copper in the blood is bound to caeruloplasmin. Caeruloplasmin can be measured 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.

Accordion Title
Common Questions
  • How is it used?

    Caeruloplasmin is primarily measured with blood and/or urine copper tests to help diagnose Wilson’s disease, a rare inherited disease associated with low levels of caeruloplasmin and excess storage of copper in the liver, brain, and other organs. Rarely, it may be used to help diagnose a disorder of copper deficiency.

  • When is it requested?

    It is used along with copper measurements when someone has signs and symptoms that the doctor suspects may be due to Wilson’s disease such as:

    • anaemia
    • nausea
    • tummy pain
    • jaundice
    • tiredness
    • behavioural changes
    • tremors
    • difficulty walking and/or swallowing
    • dystonia

    Rarely, caeruloplasmin may also be requested 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 caeruloplasmin levels alone cannot diagnose a copper related disease and need to be done with measurements of copper levels.

    Test results may include:  

    • If caeruloplasmin and blood copper concentrations are decreased and urine copper levels are increased, the patient may have Wilson’s disease.
    • About 5% of the patients with Wilson’s disease who have neurological symptoms will have normal caeruloplasmin levels as will up to 40% of those with liver disease, especially if they have recently become ill.
    • If caeruloplasmin 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 metabolise copper has the potential to affect blood caeruloplasmin and copper concentrations.
  • Is there anything else I should know?

    Caeruloplasmin may be increased in a variety of circumstances which need to be considered when using it to diagnose or monitor Wilson’s disease or copper deficiency.  These circumstances may include:  

    • Caeruloplasmin increases due to it being elevated when someone has inflammation, severe infection, tissue damage, and some cancers. 

    Caeruloplasmin is not a routine test. Unless your doctor suspects that you have Wilson’s disease or a problem with your copper metabolism, it is unlikely that you will ever have this test performed.

     

  • Do I need to have a liver biopsy?

    If Wilson’s disease is strongly suspected, a liver biopsy may be performed to look for the copper content in the liver.