Brain copper and zinc levels were determined in 21-day-old and "adult" C3HeB FeJ quaking mice and in normal littermate controls. Expressed per gram dry weight of brain, copper was increased 84% over normal mice at 21 days after birth, but was not significantly different from normal in the adults. Zinc was increased 23 to 24% at both ages. At both ages, brains from quaking mice had a significantly reduced content of solids, indicating increased water content in the mutant brain. Our study is the first to report copper and zinc content as a measure of both wet and dry brain weights. Our results indicate abnormal copper content in the quaking mutant. The relationship between copper content and other aspects of the quaking phenotype, including its seizure behavior and myelin deficit, remain to be established.
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