Three generations of rats were raised with a low copper diet. Copper deficiency was associated with significant reductions in the yield of myelin, but brain weight was less affected. The chemical composition of myelin was not different from controls in the content of its proteins, lipids or GM1 ganglioside. The main difference was a shift of the major myelin glycoprotein toward higher apparent molecular weight in the copper deficient animals. Postnatal copper replacement failed to reverse the deficiency of brain and body growth or the neurological symptoms. Copper replacement in a copperdeficient mother's diet prior to conception corrected all abnormalities in a subsequent litter when compared to her previous litters. The results suggest that copper is essential for myelin formation and general growth during critical periods in development.
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Matthieu, J., Zimmerman, A., Quarles, R. et al. EFFECTS OF COPPER DEFICIT ON MYELINATION. Pediatr Res 9, 865 (1975). https://doi.org/10.1203/00006450-197511000-00078