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Biochem J. 1994 Feb 15;298 ( Pt 1):181-7.

Molecular variants of beta 2-microglobulin in renal insufficiency.

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Laboratoire d'Immunologie, INSERM U80, Hôpital E. Herriot, Lyon, France.


Many patients with renal insufficiency treated by dialysis for more than 10 years have tissue deposits of amyloid material containing polymerized beta 2-microglobulin (beta 2m). The mechanisms of beta 2m polymerization and degradation remain unknown. In biological fluids (serum and urine) from haemodialysis patients and in dialysis fluids from patients treated by chronic ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD), we have characterized different molecular forms of beta 2m, including proteolytic split products. beta 2m isoforms of pI 5.7, 5.3 and 4.5-5.0 were isolated from urine and CAPD fluid. The pI 5.3 beta 2m, but not the other forms, was recovered both as monomers and as dimers. Such dimers were also detected in serum from patients but not from healthy controls. pI 5.3 and 5.7 beta 2m isoforms were found to be nearly identical by mass spectrometry and by their amino acid sequences. The amino acid sequence of the 43 N-terminal amino acids of beta 2m of pI 5.0 showed identity with the corresponding region of pI 5.7 beta 2m. Fragments recovered from CAPD fluid were similar to proteolytic fragments generated from pure pI 5.7 beta 2m by incubation in mouse ascitic fluid at acidic pH. Furthermore, pure pI 5.7 beta 2m was converted into more acidic forms of 12 kDa upon incubation in mouse ascitic fluid at acid pH. beta 2m dimers found in serum may represent a precursor of amyloid fibrils.

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