Measurement of Acetaminophen-Protein Adducts in Children and Adolescents with Acetaminophen Overdoses

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Acetaminophen-protein adducts are biomarkers of acetaminophen toxicity present in the centrilobular region of the liver of laboratory animals following the administration of toxic doses of acetaminophen. These biomarkers are highly specific for acetaminophen-induced hepatic injury and correlate with hepatic transaminase elevation. The objective of this prospective, multicenter study was to evaluate the clinical application of the measurement of acetaminophen-protein adducts in pediatric acetaminophen overdose patients. Serum samples were obtained from 51 children and adolescents with acetaminophen overdose at the time of routine blood sampling for clinical monitoring. Six subjects developed “severe” hepatotoxicity (transaminase elevation 1000 IU/L), and 6 subjects had transaminase elevation of 100 to 1000 IU/L. Acetaminophen-protein adducts were detected in the serum of only 1 study subject, a patient with marked transaminase elevation (> 6000 IU/L) and high riskforthe development of hepatotoxicity according to the Rumack nomogram. While this study provides further support for the occurrence of covalent binding of acetaminophen to hepatic protein in humans following acetaminophen overdose, the detection of acetaminophen-protein adducts in serum with the current methodology requires significant biochemical evidence of hepatocellular injury.

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