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J Biol Chem. 1985 Sep 25;260(21):11396-405.

Characterization of digitalis-like factors in human plasma. Interactions with NaK-ATPase and cross-reactivity with cardiac glycoside-specific antibodies.


Much of the evidence for a physiologically important endogenous inhibitor of the sodium pump has been either contradictory or indirect. We have identified three discrete fractions in desalted deproteinized plasma from normal humans that resemble the digitalis glycosides in that they: are of low molecular weight; are resistant to acid and enzymatic proteolysis; inhibit NaK-ATPase activity; inhibit Na+ pump activity in human erythrocytes; displace [3H]ouabain bound to the enzyme; and cross-react with high-affinity polyclonal and monoclonal digoxin-specific antibodies but not with anti-ouabain or anti-digitoxin antibodies. An additional fraction cross-reacted with digoxin-specific antibodies but had no detectable activity against NaK-ATPase. The three inhibitory fractions differed from cardiac glycosides in that their concentration-effect curves in a NaK-ATPase inhibition and [3H]ouabain radioreceptor assays were steeper than unlabeled ouabain. This suggests that these inhibitors are not simple competitive ligands for binding to NaK-ATPase. In the presence of sodium, no fraction required ATP for binding to NaK-ATPase, and in the presence of potassium, only one fraction had the reduced affinity for the enzyme that is characteristic of cardiac glycosides. Unlike digitalis, all three NaK-ATPase inhibitory fractions stimulated the activity of skeletal muscle sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca-ATPase. The presence of at least three fractions in human plasma that inhibit NaK-ATPase and cross-react to a variable degree with different digoxin-specific antibody populations could explain much of the conflicting evidence for the existence of endogenous digitalis-like compounds in plasma.

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