Albumin transport function analysis by EPR spectroscopy
Albumin transport function analysis by EPR spectroscopy (Albumin Transport Analysis test, ATA-test;) is the in vitro blood test that detects changes to the transport function and molecular conformation of serum albumin using the method of EPR spectroscopy. The test is used for diagnosis of cancer, sepsis and toxemia.
Principle of the method
In the method a sample of blood serum is investigated, to which a spin probe 16-doxyl stearate is added. Spin probe molecules bind specifically to albumin molecules where they occupy two main positions: (1) in the primary binding sites located in albumin domains, where their mobility is restricted, and (2) in the relatively spacious hydrophobic area between the protein domains in the interior the albumin globule. The spin probe molecules bound on albumin have restricted mobility that results with a change to EPR spectrum, which reflects characteristics of the protein site where the spin probe is located and allows estimating the conformation of albumin globule. Some part of the spin probe remains in the serum in the unbound state. The ratio of the fractions of the bound and unbound spin probe allows estimating the functional activity of albumin molecules. Thus analysis of the EPR spectrum allows assessment of the conformation and functional activity of albumin molecules.
The study procedure includes mixing a serum sample with a spin probe reagent, incubating the mixture, measuring the EPR spectrum of a serum with a spin probe, and analyzing the EPR spectrum with calculating the conformation and functional indicators of albumin molecules.
For cancer diagnosis
A specific change to the conformation of albumin molecules     that is associated with the growth of a malignant tumor is diagnosed, which is caused by (or associated with) changes in the composition of metabolites carried by serum albumin during the growth of a malignant tumor   (proliferating cancer cells uptake and release metabolites in abnormal quantities).
- as a screening test to detect cancer-specific metabolic alterations in patients;
- to determine whether the cancer growth has stopped or the disease is progressing;
- to determine when cancer treatment is effective or needs to be changed.
For diagnosis of sepsis and toxemia
Reduced functional activity of serum albumin (reduced binding efficacy) is diagnosed, which is associated with toxemia (an increase in the concentration of toxic molecules in the blood) and is manifested before other clinical symptoms.
Clinical application of the Albumin transport function analysis:
- prognosis and early diagnosis of sepsis (1 to 2 hours after surgery)  ;
- diagnosis of severe preeclampsia (gestosis) in women in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy ;
- diagnostics of the functional status of a kidney transplant   
- early diagnosis of congenital pneumonia in newborns.
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