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(1/5528) Highly sensitive quantitation of methamphetamine by time-resolved fluoroimmunoassay using a new europium chelate as a label.

A simple and highly sensitive time-resolved fluoroimmunoassay of methamphetamine (MA) using a new fluorescent europium chelate (BHHCT-Eu3+) as a label is described. Two variations of competitive immunoassay were attempted. In the first (one-step) assay, microtiter plates coated with anti-MA were used, and the new label was bound to a conjugate of bovine serum albumin and N-(4-aminobutyl)-MA (MA-BSA). In the second (two-step) assay, instead of the labeled MA-BSA, biotinylated MA-BSA and BHHCT-Eu3+-labeled streptavidin-BSA were used. The lowest measurable concentrations of MA for the one-step and the two-step methods were 1 ng/mL (25 pg/assay) and 1 pg/mL (25 fg/assay), respectively. These were 10 to 1000 times superior to the detection limits of MA in any other immunoassay. Intra-assay coefficient of variation was approximately 2-8% at eight different concentrations (n = 4). Analysis of 34 urine samples with the new method and conventional gas chromatography showed a good correlation (r = 0.954). The high detectability of the present assay also enabled segmental hair analysis with a few centimeters of a hair.  (+info)

(2/5528) Upstream region of rat serum albumin gene promoter contributes to promoter activity: presence of functional binding site for hepatocyte nuclear factor-3.

Transcription of the serum albumin gene occurs almost exclusively in the liver and is controlled in part by a strong liver-specific promoter. The upstream region of the serum albumin gene promoter is highly conserved among species and is footprinted in vitro by a number of nuclear proteins. However, the role of the upstream promoter region in regulating transcription and the identity of the transcription factors that bind to this region have not been established. In the present study, deletion analysis of the rat serum albumin promoter in transiently transfected HepG2 cells demonstrated that elimination of the region between -207 and -153 bp caused a two-fold decrease in promoter activity (P<0.05). Additional analysis of the -207 to -124 bp promoter interval led to the identification of two potential binding sites for hepatocyte nuclear factor-3 (HNF-3) located at -168 to -157 bp (site X) and -145 to -134 bp (site Y). Electrophoretic mobility-shift assays performed with the HNF-3 X and Y sites demonstrated that both sites are capable of binding HNF-3alpha and HNF-3beta. Placement of a single copy of the HNF-3 X site upstream from a minimal promoter increased promoter activity by about four-fold in HepG2 cells, and the reporter construct containing this site could be transactivated if co-transfected with an HNF-3 expression construct. Furthermore, inactivation of the HNF-3 X site by site-directed mutagenesis within the context of the -261 bp albumin promoter construct resulted in a 40% decrease in transcription (P<0.05). These results indicate that the positive effect of the -207 to -153 bp promoter interval is attributable to the presence of the HNF-3 X site within this interval. Additional results obtained with transfected HepG2 cells suggest that the HNF-3 Y site plays a lesser role in activation of transcription than the X site.  (+info)

(3/5528) Hypoalbuminemia increases lysophosphatidylcholine in low-density lipoprotein of normocholesterolemic subjects.

BACKGROUND: A phospholipid, lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC), is the major determinant of the atherosclerotic properties of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Under normal circumstances most LPC is bound to albumin. We hypothesized that lipoprotein LPC concentrations are increased in hypoalbuminemic patients with the nephrotic syndrome, irrespective of their lipid levels. To test this hypothesis, we selected nephrotic and control subjects with matched LDL cholesterol levels. METHODS: Lipoproteins and the albumin-rich lipoprotein-deficient fractions were separated by ultracentrifugation and their phospholipid composition was analyzed by thin-layer chromatography. RESULTS: Nephrotic subjects (albumin 23 +/- 2 g/liter and LDL cholesterol 3.1 +/- 0.2 mmol/liter) had a LDL LPC concentration that was increased (P < 0.05) to 66 +/- 7 vs. 35 +/- 6 micromol/liter in matched controls (albumin 42 +/- 5 g/liter and LDL cholesterol 3.1 +/- 0.2 mmol/liter). LPC in very low-density lipoprotein plus intermediate-density lipoprotein (VLDL + IDL) in these subjects was also increased to 33 +/- 7 vs. 9 +/- 2 micromol/liter in controls (P < 0.05). Conversely, LPC was decreased to 19 +/- 4 micromol/liter in the albumin-containing fraction of these hypoalbuminemic patients, as compared to 46 +/- 10 micromol/liter in the controls (P < 0.05). LPC was also low (14 +/- 4 micromol/liter) in the albumin-containing fraction of hypoalbuminemic, hypocholesterolemic patients with nonrenal diseases. In hyperlipidemic nephrotic subjects (albumin 21 +/- 2 g/liter and LDL cholesterol 5.7 +/- 0.5 mmol/liter) the LPC levels in LDL and VLDL + IDL were further increased, to 95 +/- 20 and 56 +/- 23 micromol/liter, respectively (P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that in the presence of hypoalbuminemia in combination with proteinuria, LPC shifts from albumin to VLDL, IDL and LDL. This effect is independent of hyperlipidemia. Increased LPC in lipoproteins may be an important factor in the disproportionate increase in cardiovascular disease in nephrotic patients with hypoalbuminemia.  (+info)

(4/5528) Serum levels of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, and 25-hydroxyvitamin D in nondialyzed patients with chronic renal failure.

BACKGROUND: In patients with chronic renal failure (CRF), abnormalities in vitamin D metabolism are known to be present, and several factors could contribute to the abnormalities. METHODS: We measured serum levels of three vitamin D metabolites, 1,25(OH)2D, 24, 25(OH)2D and 25(OH)D, and analyzed factors affecting their levels in 76 nondialyzed patients with CRF (serum creatinine> 1.6 and < 9.0 mg/dl), 37 of whom had diabetes mellitus (DM-CRF) and 39 of whom were nondiabetic (nonDM-CRF). RESULTS: Serum levels of 1,25(OH)2D were positively correlated with estimated creatinine clearance (CCr; r = 0.429; P < 0.0001), and levels of 24,25(OH)2D were weakly correlated with CCr (r = 0.252, P < 0.05); no correlation was noted for 25(OH)D. Serum levels of all three vitamin D metabolites were significantly and positively correlated with serum albumin. Although there were no significant differences in age, sex, estimated CCr, calcium and phosphate between DM-CRF and nonDM-CRF, all three vitamin D metabolites were significantly lower in DM-CRF than in nonDM-CRF. To analyze factors influencing vitamin D metabolite levels, we performed multiple regression analyses. Serum 25(OH)D levels were significantly and independently associated with serum albumin, presence of DM and serum phosphate (R2 = 0.599; P < 0.0001). 24,25(OH)2D levels were significantly and strongly associated with 25(OH)D (beta = 0.772; R2 = 0.446; P < 0.0001). Serum 1,25(OH)2D levels were significantly associated only with estimated CCr (R2 = 0. 409; P < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that hypoalbuminemia and the presence of DM independently affect serum 25(OH)D levels, probably via diabetic nephropathy and poor nutritional status associated with diabetes, and that 25(OH)D is actively catalyzed to 24,25(OH)2D in CRF, probably largely via extrarenal 24-hydroxylase. Serum levels of 1,25(OH)2D were significantly affected by the degree of renal failure. Thus, this study indicates that patients with CRF, particularly those with DM, should receive supplements containing the active form of vitamin D prior to dialysis.  (+info)

(5/5528) Septicemia in dialysis patients: incidence, risk factors, and prognosis.

BACKGROUND: Infection is second to cardiovascular disease as a cause of death in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), and septicemia causes a majority of these infectious deaths. To identify patients at high risk and to characterize modifiable risk factors for septicemia, we examined the incidence, risk factors, and prognosis for septicemia in a large, representative group of U.S. dialysis patients. METHODS: We conducted a longitudinal cohort study of incident ESRD patients in the case-mix study of the U.S. Renal Data System with seven years of follow-up from hospitalization and death records. Poisson regression was used to examine independent risk factors for hospital-managed septicemia. Cox proportional hazards analysis was used to assess the independent effect of septicemia on all-cause mortality and on death from septicemia. Separate analyses were performed for patients on peritoneal dialysis (PD) and hemodialysis (HD). RESULTS: Over seven years of follow-up, 11.7% of 4005 HD patients and 9.4% of 913 PD patients had at least one episode of septicemia. Older age and diabetes were independent risk factors for septicemia in all patients. Among HD patients, low serum albumin, temporary vascular access, and dialyzer reuse were also associated with increased risk. Among PD patients, white race and having no health insurance at dialysis initiation were also risk factors. Patients with septicemia had twice the risk of death from any cause and a fivefold to ninefold increased risk of death from septicemia. CONCLUSIONS: Septicemia, which carries a marked increased risk of death, occurs frequently in patients on PD as well as HD. Early referral to a nephrologist, improving nutrition, and avoiding temporary vascular access may decrease the incidence of septicemia. Further study of how race, insurance status, and dialyzer reuse can contribute to the risk of septicemia among ESRD patients is indicated.  (+info)

(6/5528) Early mycological treatment failure in AIDS-associated cryptococcal meningitis.

Cryptococcal meningitis causes significant morbidity and mortality in persons with AIDS. Of 236 AIDS patients treated with amphotericin B plus flucytosine, 29 (12%) died within 2 weeks and 62 (26%) died before 10 weeks. Just 129 (55%) of 236 patients were alive with negative cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cultures at 10 weeks. Multivariate analyses identified that titer of cryptococcal antigen in CSF, serum albumin level, and CD4 cell count, together with dose of amphotericin B, had the strongest joint association with failure to achieve negative CSF cultures by day 14. Among patients with similar CSF cryptococcal antigen titers, CD4 cell counts, and serum albumin levels, the odds of failure at week 10 for those without negative CSF cultures by day 14 was five times that for those with negative CSF cultures by day 14 (odds ratio, 5.0; 95% confidence interval, 2.2-10.9). Prognosis is dismal for patients with AIDS-related cryptococcal meningitis. Multivariate analyses identified three components that, along with initial treatment, have the strongest joint association with early outcome. Clearly, more effective initial therapy and patient management strategies that address immune function and nutritional status are needed to improve outcomes of this disease.  (+info)

(7/5528) Distinct clinical and laboratory activity of two recombinant interleukin-2 preparations.

Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a potent lymphokine that activates natural killer cells, T cells, and other cells of the immune system. Several distinct recombinant human IL-2 preparations have shown antitumor activity, particularly for renal cell cancer and melanoma. Somewhat distinct immune and clinical effects have been noted when different IL-2 preparations have been tested clinically; however, the regimens and doses used were not identical. To compare these more directly, we have evaluated two clinical recombinant IL-2 preparations in vitro and in vivo using similar regimens and similar IUs of IL-2. We used the Food and Drug Administration-approved, commercially available Chiron IL-2 and the Hoffmann LaRoche (HLR) IL-2 supplied by the National Cancer Institute. Using equivalent IUs of IL-2, we noted quantitative differences in vitro and in vivo in the IL-2 activity of these two preparations. In patients receiving comparable IUs of the two preparations, HLR IL-2 induced the release of more soluble IL-2 receptor alpha into the serum than Chiron IL-2. In addition, more toxicities were noted in patients receiving 1.5 x 10(6) IU of HLR IL-2 than were seen in patients treated with 1.5 x 10(6) or even 4.5 x 10(6) IU of Chiron IL-2. These toxicities included fever, nausea and vomiting, and hepatic toxicity. In vitro proliferative assays using IL-2-dependent human and murine cell lines indicated that the IU of HLR IL-2 was more effective than Chiron IL-2 at inducing tritiated thymidine incorporation. Using flow cytometry, we also found quantitative differences in the ability of these two preparations to bind to IL-2 receptors. These findings indicate that approximately 3-6 IU of Chiron IL-2 are required to induce the same biological effect as 1 IU of HLR IL-2.  (+info)

(8/5528) Phospholipid hydroperoxide cysteine peroxidase activity of human serum albumin.

Human serum albumin (HSA) reduced the phospholipid hydroperoxide, 1-palmitoyl-2-(13-hydroperoxy-cis-9, trans-11-octadecadienoyl)-l-3-phosphatidylcholine (PLPC-OOH) to the corresponding hydroxy-derivative with a high apparent affinity (Km=9. 23+/-0.95 microM). Removal of bound lipid during purification increased this activity. At physiological concentration, HSA reduced the phospholipid hydroperoxide in the absence of a cofactor. However, in the presence of a cofactor (reductant), the rate of the reaction was increased. All of the major aminothiols in plasma could act as reductants, the best being the most abundant, cysteine (Km=600+/-80 microM). For every nanomole of PLPC-OOH reduced by HSA, 1.26 nmol of cystine was formed, indicating a reaction stoichiometry of 1 mol PLPC-OOH to 2 mol cysteine. We used chemical modification to determine which amino acid residues on HSA were responsible for the activity. Oxidation of thiol group(s) by N-ethylmaleimide led to a reduction in the rate of activity, whereas reduction of thiols by either dithiothreitol or the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, captopril, increased the activity. Both N-ethylmaleimide-modified HSA and dithiothreitol-treated HSA exhibited increased apparent affinities for PLPC-OOH. For a range of preparations of albumin with different modifications, the activity on PLPC-OOH was dependent on the amount of free thiol groups on the albumin (correlation coefficient=0.91). Patients with lowered albumin concentrations after septic shock showed lowered total plasma thiol concentrations and decreased phospholipid hydroperoxide cysteine peroxidase (PHCPx) activities. These results therefore show for the first time that HSA exhibits PHCPx activity, and that the majority of the activity depends on the presence of reduced thiol group(s) on the albumin.  (+info)