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Amyloid. 2001 Jun;8(2):94-100.

Pore formation by beta-2-microglobulin: a mechanism for the pathogenesis of dialysis associated amyloidosis.

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Department of Psychiatry, UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, Brain Research Institute and Mental Retardation Research Center, UCLA School of Medicine and West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Beta-2 microglobulin (beta 2M, molecular weight 10,000) is a 99 residue immune system protein which is part of the MHC Class I complex whose role is to present antigens to T cells. beta 2M serum levels rise dramatically in renal failure, and a syndrome called "dialysis associated amyloidosis" occurs with time in a majority of hemodialysis patients who exhibit beta 2M amyloid deposits in joints, bone and other organs. beta 2M can also induce Ca++ efflux from calvariae, collagenase production, and bone resorption. We report here that beta 2M formed relatively nonselective, long-lived, voltage independent ion channels in planar phospholipid bilayer membranes at physiologically relevant concentrations. The channels were inhibited by Congo red and blocked by zinc suggesting that they exist in an aggregated beta sheet state as is common with other amyloid fibril forming peptides. Multiple single channel conductances were seen suggesting that various oligomers of beta 2M may be capable of forming channel structures. We suggest that beta 2M channel formation may account for some of the pathophysiologic effects seen in dialysis associated amyloidosis. These findings lend further weight to the "channel hypothesis" of amyloid pathogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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