Determination of metallothionein in biological fluids using enzyme-linked immunoassay with commercial antibody
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Metallothionein (MT) is a low molecular weight cysteine-rich protein with a number of roles in the pro/antioxidant balance and homeostasis of essential metals, such as zinc and copper, and in the detoxification of heavy metals, such as cadmium and mercury. Until now, detection of metallothionein in biological fluids remained difficult because of a lack of a broadly reactive commercial test. Meaningful comparison of the values of metallothionein concentrations reported by different authors using their specific isolation procedures and different conditions of enzyme-linked immunoassay is difficult due to the absence of a reference material for metallothionein. Therefore in the present study, we describe a quantitative assay for metallothionein in biological fluids such as plasma and urine performed by a direct enzyme-linked immunoassay using a commercially available monoclonal mouse anti-metallothionein clone E9 antibody and commercial standards of metallothionein from rabbit liver and a custom preparation of metallothionein from human liver. The sensitivity of the assay for the standard containing two isoforms MT-I and MT-II from human liver was 140 pg/well. The reactivity of the commercial standards and standards containing two isoforms MT-I and MT-II isolated from human liver in our laboratory with a commercial monoclonal mouse anti-metallothionein clone E9 antibody were similar. This suggests that the described ELISA test can be useful for determination of metallothionein concentration in biological fluids. The concentrations of metallothionein in human plasma, erythrocyte lysate and in urine of smoking and non-smoking healthy volunteers are reported. Tobacco smoking increases the extracellular metallothionein concentration (plasma and urine) but does not affect the intracellular concentration (erythrocyte lysate).
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