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J Lipid Res. 1998 Nov;39(11):2293-9.

Optimization of the assay for sialic acid determination in low density lipoprotein.

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Institute of Experimental Cardiology, Russian Cardiology Research Center, Moscow, and Institute for Atherosclerosis Research, Ltd., Moscow, Russia.


Sialic acid level in blood plasma and circulating glycoproteins is considered to be a marker for a number of pathologic conditions, including atherosclerosis, cancer, etc. The precise measurement of sialic acid level is an important laboratory procedure to allow correct interpretation of results. Colorimetric methods commonly used for the measurement of sialic acid are not highly specific, as interfering substances may alter the results. Among these, malondialdehyde and other aldehydes play the decisive role. In the circulation, aldehydes are commonly produced during lipid peroxidation in the lipid core of lipoprotein particles, especially low density lipoprotein (LDL). To establish the impairment to the sialic acid determination in LDL introduced by interfering substances, the optimized assay based on Warren's traditional method was developed and tested in 606 LDL samples. The optimization implies the comparison of color developed using the standard Warren procedure with that due to contaminating agents, mainly thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS). In LDL stored at 4 degreesC, the estimates obtained by the modified procedure were 41.5% or 30.1 nmol/mg lower, on average, compared to the standard procedure (n = 45, P < 0.0001). Even in LDL stored at -70 degreesC, sialic acid estimates obtained by the modified procedure were 6.6% or 3.6 nmol/mg lower, on average, compared to the standard measurement (n = 561, P < 0.005). Thus, the modified procedure avoids significant distortion of the measurement induced by the presence of interfering agents.

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