Copper levels in tissues of rhesus monkeys bearing intrauterine or intra-abdominal copper devices.
This study of The Population Council was undertaken to determine whether copper accumulates in organs and tissues of rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) inserted with intrauterine or intraabdominal copper devices and to determine what systemic effects, if any, arise as a result of the copper. The 15 normal cycling, adult, female monkeys were randomly divided into 3 groups of 5 animals each: Groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively, consisted of sham-operated animals; animals fitted with miniature intrauterine copper-T devices through hysterotomy; and animals inserted with intraabdominal copper devices identical in shape and size to the devices used in Group 2. Copper levels were determined in adrenals, brain, heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, ovaries, pancreas, endometrium, and myometrium. The only copper accumulation noted was in the kidneys in Group 2. However, the accumulation was minimal and histologic abnormalities were absent. Through histologic examination of tissues the intrauterine device was found to have no effect on distant or local tissues. The only tissue changes associated with the intraabdominal device were in tissues immediately adjacent to the device. The observed changes may have been due to metallic copper or mechanical trauma. A number of biochemical parameters were assayed in blood samples to determine whether they might provide some indication of tissue damage or liver or kidney dysfunction resulting from the presence of copper. The levels of the biochemical parameters showed no significant differences among the groups.(Authors', modified)