URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/ceruloplasmin-test/

Ceruloplasmin Test

What is a ceruloplasmin test?

This test measures the amount of ceruloplasmin in your blood. Ceruloplasmin is a protein that is made in the liver. It stores and carries copper from the liver into the bloodstream and to the parts of your body that need it.

Copper is a mineral that is found in several foods, including nuts, chocolate, mushrooms, shellfish, and liver. It is important to many body functions, including building strong bones, producing energy, and making melanin (the substance that gives skin its color). But if you have too much or too little copper in your blood, it can be a sign of a serious health problem.

Other names: CP, ceruloplasmin blood test, ceruloplasmin, serum

What is it used for?

A ceruloplasmin test is most often used, along with copper testing, to help diagnose Wilson disease. Wilson disease is a rare genetic disorder that prevents the body from removing excess copper. It can cause a dangerous buildup of copper in the liver, brain, and other organs.

It may also be used to diagnose disorders that cause a copper deficiency (too little copper). These include:

  • Malnutrition, a condition where you are not getting enough nutrients in your diet
  • Malabsorption, a condition that makes it hard for your body to absorb and use the nutrients you eat
  • Menkes syndrome, a rare, incurable genetic disease

In addition, the test is sometimes used to diagnose liver disease.

Why do I need a ceruloplasmin test?

Your health care provider may order a ceruloplasmin test if you have symptoms of Wilson disease. These include:

You may also need this test if you have a family history of Wilson disease, even if you don't have symptoms. Symptoms usually appear between the ages of 5 and 35, but can show up earlier or later in life.

You may also have this test if you have symptoms of a copper deficiency (too little copper). These include:

  • Pale skin
  • Abnormally low levels of white blood cells
  • Osteoporosis, a condition that causes weakening of bones and makes them prone to fractures
  • Fatigue
  • Tingling in hands and feet

Your baby may need this test if he or she has symptoms of Menkes syndrome. Symptoms usually show up in infancy and include:

  • Hair that is brittle, sparse, and/or tangled
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Failure to grow
  • Developmental delays
  • Lack of muscle tone
  • Seizures

Most children with this syndrome die within the first few years of life, but early treatment may help some children live longer.

What happens during a ceruloplasmin test?

A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don't need any special preparations for a ceruloplasmin test.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is very little risk to having a blood test. You may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.

What do the results mean?

A lower than normal level of ceruloplasmin may mean your body is not able to use or eliminate copper properly. It can be a sign of:

  • Wilson disease
  • Menkes syndrome
  • Liver disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Malabsorption
  • Kidney disease

If your ceruloplasmin levels were higher than normal, it may be a sign of:

But high levels of ceruloplasmin may also be due to conditions that don't need medical treatment. These include pregnancy and the use of birth control pills.

If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.

Is there anything else I need to know about a ceruloplasmin test?

Ceruloplasmin tests are often done along with other tests. These include copper tests in blood and/or urine and liver function tests.

References

  1. Biology Dictionary [Internet]. Biology Dictionary; c2019. Ceruloplasmin [cited 2019 Jul 18]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://biologydictionary.net/ceruloplasmin
  2. Cleveland Clinic [Internet]. Cleveland (OH): Cleveland Clinic; c2019. Wilson Disease: Overview [cited 2019 Jul 18]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/5957-wilson-disease
  3. Hinkle J, Cheever K. Brunner & Suddarth's Handbook of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests. 2nd Ed, Kindle. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; c2014. Ceruloplasmin; p. 146.
  4. Kaler SG, Holmes CS, Goldstein DS, Tang J, Godwin SC, Donsante A, Liew CJ, Sato S, Patronas N. Neonatal diagnosis and treatment of Menkes Disease. N Engl J Med [Internet]. 2008 Feb 7 [cited 2019 Jul 18]; 358(6):605–14. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18256395
  5. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. Washington D.C.: American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2019. Ceruloplasmin [updated 2019 May 3; cited 2019 Jul 18]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/tests/ceruloplasmin
  6. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. Washington D.C.: American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2019. Copper [updated 2019 May 3; cited 2019 Jul 18]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/tests/copper
  7. Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; c1998–2019. Wilson's disease: Diagnosis and treatment; 2018 Mar 7 [cited 2019 Jul 18]; [about 4 screens]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/wilsons-disease/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353256
  8. Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; c1998–2019. Wilson's disease: Symptoms and causes; 2018 Mar 7 [cited 2019 Jul 18]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/wilsons-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353251
  9. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Blood Tests [cited 2019 Jun 18]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/blood-tests
  10. NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine: Genetics Home Reference [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Menkes syndrome; 2019 Jul 16 [cited 2019 Jul 18]; [about 3 screens]. Available from:  https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/menkes-syndrome#definition
  11. UF Health: University of Florida Health [Internet]. Gainesville (FL): University of Florida Health; c2019. Ceruloplasmin blood test: Overview [updated 2019 Jul 18; cited 2019 Jul 18]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://ufhealth.org/ceruloplasmin-blood-test
  12. UF Health: University of Florida Health [Internet]. Gainesville (FL): University of Florida Health; c2019. Malabsorption: Overview [updated 2019 Jul 18; cited 2019 Jul 18]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://ufhealth.org/malabsorption
  13. UF Health: University of Florida Health [Internet]. University of Florida; c2019. Malnutrion: Overview; [updated 2019 Jul 30; cited 2019 Jul 30]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://ufhealth.org/malnutrition
  14. University of Rochester Medical Center [Internet]. Rochester (NY): University of Rochester Medical Center; c2019. Health Encyclopedia: Ceruloplasmin (Blood) [cited 2019 Jul 18]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=ceruloplasmin_blood
  15. University of Rochester Medical Center [Internet]. Rochester (NY): University of Rochester Medical Center; c2019. Health Encyclopedia: Total Copper (Blood) [cited 2019 Jul 18]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=total_copper_blood
  16. UR Medicine: Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation [Internet]. Rochester (NY): University of Rochester Medical Center; c2019. Osteoporosis [cited 2019 Jul 18]. [about 4 screens]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/orthopaedics/bone-health/osteoporosis.cfm

The medical information provided is for informational purposes only, and is not to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please contact your health care provider with questions you may have regarding medical conditions or the interpretation of test results.

In the event of a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.