Copper in Diabetes Mellitus: a Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review of Plasma and Serum Studies

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2017 May;177(1):53-63. doi: 10.1007/s12011-016-0877-y. Epub 2016 Oct 26.


Copper (Cu) is an important trace element involved in oxidative stress, which is associated with the onset and progression of diabetes mellitus (DM). However, clinical studies comparing plasma or serum Cu levels in patients with DM and in healthy individuals report conflicting findings. Therefore, in this meta-analysis, we analyzed the circulating levels of Cu associated with DM (including type 1 diabetes mellitus [T1DM] and type 2 diabetes mellitus [T2DM]). We searched the articles indexed in PubMed, OVID, and Cochrane databases, published through January 2016 and meeting our predefined criteria. Requisite data were extracted, and a random-effect model or a fixed-effect model was used to conduct the meta-analysis. Fifteen eligible studies involving a total of 1079 DM patients and 561 healthy controls were identified. Overall, the DM patients showed higher Cu levels than the healthy controls (plasma Cu mean difference [MD] = 1.69 μmol/L, p < 0.0001; serum Cu MD = 4.06 μmol/L, p = 0.005; plasma and serum Cu MD = 2.67 μmol/L, p = 0.006). Stratification based on the type of diabetes also indicated higher levels of Cu in the plasma and serum of DM patients than in healthy controls, respectively. Stratification of DM patients associated with and without complications also revealed similar results. This meta-analysis suggests that DM patients carried higher levels of Cu than healthy individuals. However, international cohort studies are needed to corroborate our findings.

Keywords: Copper; Meta-analysis; Plasma; Serum; Type 1 diabetes mellitus; Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Copper / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Humans


  • Copper