The ceruloplasmin test measures the level of the copper-containing protein ceruloplasmin in the blood.
How the Test is Performed
A blood sample is needed.
How to Prepare for the Test
No special preparation is needed.
How the Test will Feel
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain. Others feel only a prick or stinging. Afterward, there may be some throbbing or a slight bruise. This soon goes away.
Why the Test is Performed
Ceruloplasmin is made in the liver. Ceruloplasmin stores and transports copper in the blood to parts of the body that need it.
Your health care provider may order this test if you have signs or symptoms of a copper metabolism or copper storage disorder.
Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or may test different samples. Talk to your provider about the meaning of your specific test results.
What Abnormal Results Mean
Lower-than-normal ceruloplasmin levels may be due to:
- Long-term liver disease
- Problem absorbing nutrients from food (intestinal malabsorption)
- Disorder in which cells in the body can absorb copper, but are unable to release it (Menkes syndrome)
- Group of disorders that damage the kidneys (nephrotic syndrome)
- Inherited disorder in which there is too much copper in the body's tissues (Wilson disease)
Higher-than-normal ceruloplasmin levels may be due to:
Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another, and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight, but may include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Fainting or feeling lightheaded
- Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
- Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)
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Pincus MR, Tierno PM, Fenelus M, Bowne WB, Bluth MH. Evaluation of liver function. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 21.
Pratt DS. Liver chemistry and function tests. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 73.
Update Date 2/8/2015
Updated by: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.