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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Herschel Frye

First Committee Member

Paul Gross

Second Committee Member

Richard P. Dodge

Third Committee Member

James W. Blankenship

Fourth Committee Member

W. H. Wadman


Flow injection atomic absorption procedures with less than 10%RSD at 1.0 ppm were developed for the assay of copper and zinc in 10 μL samples of mouse plasma. The flow injection apparatus was designed with a pulseless liquid flow control system, regulated by inert gas pressure. The aspiration liquid is 6% t-butanol in water. After exhaustive parameter optimizations, copper assays were conducted with the conventional air-acetylene flame at 324.754 nm and zinc assays were conducted with the unconventional argon-hydrogen air diffusion flame at 213.856 nm. The argon-hydrogen flame system was chosen because it absorbs very little ultraviolet light.

The developed methods were used to determine the concentration of copper and zinc in plasma samples from six strains ( C57BL/6J, LG/J, DBA/2J, SJL/J, BALB/cJ, LP/J ) of male and female audiogenic seizure susceptible mice, aged 18 to 65 days. The results are presented in 24 sets of data and graphs of metal concentrations versus mouse age.

The copper concentration, within the precision of the data, is 1.2 ppm ± 0.2 SD for all sexes, strains, and ages. The zinc concentration, within the precision of the data, increases from 1.2 ppm ± 0.2 SD at twenty days of age to 1.8 ppm ± 0.2 SD at sixty days of age for all sexes and strains.

There is no correlation between the age dependence of the seizure susceptibility of any sex or strain of mice and the plasma concentrations or concentration ratios for either copper or zinc. At any age there is no correlation between the relative seizure susceptibility among the strains of mice and their concentrations or concentration ratios for either copper or zinc.

The results cast doubt on the significance of copper and zinc concentrations for the epilepsy of humans receiving anticonvulsant medication and on the validity of the use of audiogenic seizure susceptible mice as a model for epilepsy. Additional experiments are suggested.



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