Association of copper levels in the hair with gray matter volume, mean diffusivity, and cognitive functions
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Although copper plays a critical role in normal brain functions and development, it is known that excess copper causes toxicity. Here we investigated the associations of copper levels in the hair with regional gray matter volume (rGMV), mean diffusivity (MD), and cognitive differences in a study cohort of 924 healthy young adults. Our findings showed that high copper levels were associated mostly with low cognitive abilities (low scores on the intelligence test consisting of complex speed tasks, involving reasoning task, a complex arithmetic task, and a reading comprehension task) as well as lower reverse Stroop interference, high rGMV over widespread areas of the brain [mainly including the bilateral lateral and medial parietal cortices, medial temporal structures (amygdala, hippocampus, and parahippocampal gyrus), middle cingulate cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, insula, perisylvian areas, inferior temporal lobe, temporal pole, occipital lobes, and supplementary motor area], as well as high MD of the right substantia nigra and bilateral hippocampus, which are indicative of low density in brain tissues. These results suggest that copper levels are associated with mostly aberrant cognitive functions, greater rGMV in extensive areas, greater MD (which are indicative of low density in brain tissues) in subcortical structures in the healthy young adults, possibly reflecting copper’s complex roles in neural mechanisms.
KeywordsCopper Regional gray matter volume Mean diffusivity Cognitive functions
We respectfully thank Yuki Yamada for operating the MRI scanner, and Haruka Nouchi for being an examiner of psychological tests. We also thank study participants, the other examiners of psychological tests, and all of our colleagues in Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer and in Tohoku University for their support. This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) (KAKENHI 23700306) and a Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (A) (KAKENHI 25700012) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology. The authors would like to thank Enago (http://www.enago.jp) for the English language review. We would like to thank La Belle Vie Inc. and its employees for the hair mineral level analyses as well as Dr. Yasuda and Dr. Sonobe for their technical advice regarding the analyses.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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