Serum copper to zinc ratio: Relationship with aging and health status

Marco Malavolta, Francesco Piacenza, Andrea Basso, Robertina Giacconi, Laura Costarelli, Eugenio Mocchegiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The serum concentrations of copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) are strictly regulated by compensatory mechanisms that act to stabilize them within certain ranges of nutritional intake. However, there are mechanisms that are built to decrease serum concentration of Zn and to increase serum concentration of Cu in the presence of inflammatory conditions, so that a common feature of several age-related chronic diseases is an increase of the Cu to Zn ratio (CZr). Although the clinical potential of CZr has been extensively investigated, few authors addressed the mechanisms that mainly contribute to the increase of CZr in serum during aging, which signals drive this change and how cells respond to these changes. This review focuses on this topic and discusses how an increase of CZr during aging could reflect the homeostatic shade from a general systemic "growth and reproduction" status typical of juvenile age to a "repair and maintenance" status that evolved to preserve health status during old age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-100
Number of pages8
JournalMechanisms of Ageing and Development
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2015


  • Aging
  • Copper
  • Homeostasis
  • Inflammation
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Developmental Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Serum copper to zinc ratio: Relationship with aging and health status'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this