Key words Alpha-1-microglobulin
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract In the past few years, alpha-1-microglobulin (α1m) has been copurified from human urine with bikunin, a potent inhibitor of calcium oxalate (CaOx) crystallization in vitro. In this study, we have purified α1m without bikunin contamination and investigated its possible role in CaOx crystallization by in vitro and in vivo studies. Alpha-1m was purified with an anti-α1m antibodies CNBr-activated sepharose column. Two molecular species of α1m of respectively 30 and 60 kDa were purified. For each protein, two blots of 30 and 60 kDa cross-reacted with anti-α1m antibodies, suggesting that these two forms were derived one from the other. Both protein species inhibited CaOx crystallization in a dose-dependent manner in two in vitro tests. In the first test, the presence of α1m of 30 kDa (8 μg/ml) in a medium containing 0.76 mM CaCl2 (with 45Ca) and 0.76 mM Ox(NH4)2 inhibited CaOx crystallization by 38% as estimated by supernatant radioactivity after 1 h of agitation. In the second test, CaOx kinetics were examined for 3 to 10 min in a turbidimetric model at 620 nm. The presence of α1m of 30 kDa in a medium containing 4 mM CaCl2 and 0.5 mM Na2Ox inhibited CaOx crystallization by 41.5%, as estimated by the slope modification of turbidimetric curve. Alpha-1m can be considered as another inhibitor of urinary CaOx crystal formation, as shown by the present in vitro studies. Using an ELISA assay, we found that urinary α1m concentration was significantly lower in 31 CaOx stone formers than in 18 healthy subjects (2.95 ± 0.29 vs 5.34 ± 1.08 mg/l respectively, P = 0.01). The decreased concentration of α1m in CaOx stone formers could be responsible in these patients, at least in part, for an increased risk of CaOx crystalluria.
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