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J Immunol Methods. 1997 Aug 22;207(1):79-88.

Standardizing the immunological measurement of advanced glycation endproducts using normal human serum.

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Picower Institute for Medical Research, Manhasset, NY 11030, USA.


Advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) have been linked to many sequelae of diabetes, renal disease and aging. To detect AGE levels in human tissues and blood samples, a competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) has been widely used. As no consensus or standard research method for the quantitation of AGEs currently exists, nor a universally defined AGE unit available, the comparative quantitation of AGEs between research laboratories is problematic and restricts the usefulness of interlaboratory clinical data. By comparing the cross-reactivities of five different anti-AGE antisera with five different in vitro AGE-modified proteins, we found that the immunological recognition of AGEs by competitive ELISA is both AGE-carrier protein- and anti-AGE antibody-dependent. This suggests that in vitro AGE-modified proteins might not be appropriate standards for AGEs that occur naturally in vivo. Based on our observation that serum AGE levels in the normal human population are consistently within a narrow range and several folds lower than in diabetics, we propose a method to standardize AGE units against normal human serum (NHS). In this new method, one AGE unit is defined as the inhibition that results from 1:5 diluted NHS in the competitive AGE-ELISA; thus the AGE value in NHS is 5 units/ml. This NHS method requires a competitive AGE-ELISA with reasonable sensitivity such that 1:5 NHS produces a 25 to 40% inhibition of anti-AGE antibody binding to immobilized AGE-proteins. By using this standardized method we found that the AGE levels in normal human serum (5.0 +/- 2.2 units/ml; mean +/- SD, n = 34) fit a normal distribution (chi 2-test, p < 0.01), and the serum AGE levels in diabetic patients (20.3 +/- 3.8 units/ml, n = 7) are significantly higher than that of the normal population (p < 0.0001). Since AGE units can now be defined against a universally available standard, NHS, the results of quantitative AGE measurements using this method should be comparable between assays and between different laboratories. Taken together, standardizing the AGE-ELISA protocol as described here provides a simple and quantitative method that should facilitate the expanded application of clinical AGE data.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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