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Mass spectrometry characterization of circulating human serum albumin microheterogeneity in patients with alcoholic hepatitis

M. Naldi, M. Baldassarre, M. Domenicali, F. A. Giannone, M. Bossic, J. Montomoli,T. D. Sandahl, E. Glavind, H. Vilstrup, P. Caraceni, C. Bertucci
Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, Volume 122 (2016) 141-147

Human serum albumin (HSA) is the most abundant plasma protein, endowed with several biological properties unrelated to its oncotic power, such as antioxidant and free-radicals scavenging activities, binding and transport of many endogenous and exogenous substances, and regulation of endothelial function and inflammatory response. These non-oncotic activities are closely connected to the peculiarly dynamic structure of the albumin molecule. HSA undergoes spontaneous structural modifications, mainly by reaction with oxidants and saccharides; however, patients with cirrhosis show extensive post-transcriptional changes at several molecular sites of HSA, the degree of which parallels the severity of the disease. The present work reports the development and application of an innovative LC–MS analytical method for a rapid and reproducible determination of the relative abundance of HSA isoforms in plasma samples from alcoholic hepatitis (AH) patients. A condition of severe oxidative stress, similar to that observed in AH patients, is associated with profound changes in circulating HSA microheterogeneity. More interestingly, the high resolution provided by the analytical platform allowed the monitoring of novel oxidative products of HSA never reported before.

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