Clinically distinct presentations of copper deficiency myeloneuropathy and cytopenias in a patient using excessive zinc-containing denture adhesive

Sahara J. Cathcart, Alina G. Sofronescu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Objectives While copper deficiency has long been known to cause cytopenias, copper deficiency myeloneuropathy is a more recently described entity. Here, we present the case of two clinically distinct presentations of acquired copper deficiency syndromes secondary to excessive use of zinc-containing denture adhesive over five years: myeloneuropathy and severe macrocytic anemia and neutropenia. Methods Extensive laboratory testing and histologic evaluation of the liver and bone marrow, were necessary to rule out other disease processes and establish the diagnosis of copper deficiency. Results The initial presentation consisted of a myelopathy involving the posterior columns. Serum and urine copper were significantly decreased, and serum zinc was elevated. On second presentation (five years later), multiple hematological abnormalities were detected. Serum copper was again decreased, while serum zinc was elevated. Conclusions Zinc overload is a preventable cause of copper deficiency syndromes. This rare entity presented herein highlights the importance of patient, as well as provider, education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)733-736
Number of pages4
JournalClinical Biochemistry
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017



  • Copper deficiency
  • Cytopenia
  • Denture adhesive
  • Myeloneuropathy
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry

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