Copper handling machinery of the brain

Svetlana Lutsenko, Ashima Bhattacharjee, Ann L. Hubbard

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


Copper plays an indispensable role in the physiology of the human central nervous system (CNS). As a cofactor of dopamine-β-hydroxylase, peptidyl-α-monooxygenase, superoxide dismutases, and many other enzymes, copper is a critical contributor to catecholamine biosynthesis, activation of neuropeptides and hormones, protection against reactive oxygen species, respiration and other processes essential for normal CNS function. Copper content in the CNS is tightly regulated, and changes in copper levels in the brain are associated with a wide spectrum of pathologies. However, the mechanistic understanding of copper transport in the CNS is still in its infancy. Little is known about copper distribution among various cell types or cell-specific regulation of copper homeostasis, despite the fact that the molecules mediating copper transport and distribution in the brain (CTR1, Atox1, CCS, ScoI/II, ATP7A and ATP7B) have been identified and their importance in CNS function increasingly understood. In this review, we summarize current knowledge about copper levels and uses in the CNS and describe the molecules involved in maintaining copper homeostasis in the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)596-608
Number of pages13
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Metals and Alloys


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