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Differential Spectrum of Albumin Glycation, Oxidation, and Truncation in Type 2 and Type 1 Diabetes: Clinical and Biological Implications.

Background: Albumin, the most abundant and physiologically vital serum protein, accumulates a range of chemical modifications, as consequence of encounters with large number of reactive molecules whose concentrations increase in serum under pathological conditions. Methods: In a "proof of concept" study, mass spectrometric analysis was utilized to quantitate albumin post-translational modifications (glycation, oxidation, and truncation; individual isoforms and total) in four informative subject groups [type 1 diabetes (T1DM), type 2 diabetes (T2DM), prediabetes-obesity and healthy; all with estimated glomerular filtration rate ≥60 mL/(min·m2 )]. Besides glycated albumin (GA/mass spectrometry), glycated serum protein (GSP/nitro blue tetrazolium colorimetry), and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c/high-performance liquid chromatography) were also measured. Results: A wide spectrum of albumin molecular modifications was identified in diabetes, with significant differences between T2DM and T1DM. Albumin glycation: GA correlated more strongly with HbA1c in T1DM, compared to T2DM. Higher albumin glycation isoforms (human serum albumin +3G/2G) were more stable and discriminative markers of mean glycemia. Albumin oxidation: T2DM, in comparison with T1DM, showed enhanced oxidative and dual (glycation plus oxidation) modifications, representing extreme molecular pathology. Albumin truncation: There was dramatic reduction ("deficiency") of truncated albumin isoforms in T2DM, and significant reduction in T1DM. Albumin truncation negatively correlated with severity of albumin glycation (mean glycemia) and albumin oxidation (cysteinylation). Possible mechanisms of insulin resistance, with associated increased free fatty acids binding to albumin, in stimulating albumin oxidation and inhibiting albumin glycation ("metabolic cross talks") are reviewed. Conclusions: Albumin molecular modifications in diabetes, together with significant differences between T2DM and T1DM, suggest possible role for insulin resistance in their genesis and consequent cell, tissue, and vascular dysfunction/damage. Albumin molecular fingerprinting can provide valuable insights into pathogenesis, diagnosis, monitoring, and future therapies for diabetes. Identification of biomarker battery ("albuminomics," "diabetomics") driven diverse "healthy," prediabetes, obesity, and T2DM phenotypes represents additional novel step toward precision medicine in diabetes and related disorders.

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