Albumin as marker for susceptibility to metal ions in metal-on-metal hip prosthesis patients

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Metal-on-metal (MoM) hip prostheses are known to release chromium and cobalt (Co), which negatively affect the health status, leading to prosthesis explant. Albumin (ALB) is the main serum protein-binding divalent transition metals. Its binding capacity can be affected by gene mutations or modification of the protein N-terminal region, giving the ischaemia-modified albumin (IMA). This study evaluated ALB, at gene and protein level, as marker of individual susceptibility to Co in MoM patients, to understand whether it could be responsible for the different management of this ion. Co was measured in whole blood, serum and urine of 40 MoM patients. A mutational screening of ALB was performed to detect links between mutations and metal binding. Finally, serum concentration of total ALB and IMA were measured. Serum total ALB concentration was in the normal range for all patients. None of the subjects presented mutations in the investigated gene. Whole blood, serum and urine Co did not correlate with serum total ALB or IMA, although IMA was above the normal limit in most subjects. The individual susceptibility is very important for patients’ health status. Despite the limited results of this study, we provide indications on possible future investigations on the toxicological response to Co.

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