Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 146, Issue 1, pp 47–52 | Cite as

Variations in Copper Concentration and Ceruloplasmin Activity of Dairy Cows in Relation to Lactation Stages with Regard to Ceruloplasmin to Copper Ratios

  • H. A. Hussein
  • R. Staufenbiel


Variations of copper (Cu) concentration and ceruloplasmin (Cp) activity in serum and plasma of dairy cows at different stages of lactation were assessed in 240 Holstein dairy cows. Furthermore, ceruloplasmin to copper ratios were also investigated. The cows were classified according to their lactation stages into four different groups as close-up stage (3–1 week(s) antepartum), fresh lactation stage (0–1 week postpartum), early lactation stage (3–5 weeks postpartum), and mid-lactation stage (15–18 weeks postpartum). Each group consisted of 60 multiparous cows. Serum and heparinised plasma samples were obtained from each cow. Concentrations of serum copper (sCu) and plasma copper (pCu) as well as activities of plasma Cp (pCp) were higher in the group of fresh lactation stage than other groups (P < 0.05). Serum Cp (sCp) exhibited no significant difference between fresh lactation and early lactation groups (P > 0.05). Low correlations were obtained between sCp and pCu, sCp and sCu, and sCu and pCu. Plasma copper concentration and plasma ceruloplasmin activity were higher than serum copper concentration and serum ceruloplasmin activity, respectively (P < 0.001). The ratios of Cp activity to Cu concentration (Cp/Cu) were not significantly changed in the different lactation stages of dairy cows (P > 0.05). Use of sCp/pCu and sCp/sCu rather than pCp/pCu will reduce the calculated value of Cp/Cu. Furthermore, for evaluation of copper status, use of sCp/sCu or sCp/pCu identified more animals as ‘low’ and ‘marginal’ than using pCp/pCu (P < 0.001). It can be concluded that ceruloplasmin and copper undergo a physiological increase just after calving; thus, their values should be interpreted with caution during assessment of copper status. Plasma measurements should be used for calculation of Cp/Cu, and further research is required to refine diagnosis criteria for use of such ratio in determining copper status in dairy cows.


Copper Ceruloplasmin Lactation stages Dairy cows 







Serum copper


Plasma copper


Serum ceruloplasmin


Plasma ceruloplasmin


Ceruloplasmin to copper ratio


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. A. Hussein
    • 1
  • R. Staufenbiel
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Animal MedicineFaculty of Veterinary Medicine, Assiut UniversityAssiutEgypt
  2. 2.Clinic of Cattle and Swine, Free Berlin UniversityBerlinGermany

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