Copper isotope compositions of superoxide dismutase and metallothionein from post-mortem human frontal cortex

Fiona Larner, Catriona A. McLean, Alex N. Halliday, Blaine R. Roberts

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10 Citations (Scopus)


The natural copper isotopic compositions of superoxide dismutase and metallothionein from six post-mortem human frontal cortices were determined using a combination of size exclusion protein liquid chromatography, followed by anion exchange chromatography and multiple collector inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Superoxide dismutase was enriched in the heavier65Cu relative to the metallothionein fraction in all specimen pairs. The isotopic compositions were independent of copper content. This finding provides evidence that nitrogen ligands in protein copper binding sites will be enriched in heavy metal isotopes, and sulphur ligands will preferentially incorporate lighter isotopes in vivo. This in turn has implications for understanding isotopic distributions within different components in the body and the dominant ligands in different tissues. Differences in Cu isotope distributions between the two proteins were seen between Alzheimer’s disease and healthy control samples, when normalised for sex.

Original languageEnglish
Article number86
Number of pages10
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Copper
  • Isotope fractionation
  • Metallothionein
  • Superoxide dismutase

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