Detection of high molecular weight amyloid protein complexes in patient sera using Biological On-Line Tracer Sedimentation (BOLTS)


The systemic amyloidoses are a rare but deadly class of protein folding disorders with significant unmet diagnostic and therapeutic needs. The current model for symptomatic amyloid progression includes a causative role for soluble toxic aggregates as well as for the fibrillar tissue deposits. Although much research is focused on elucidating the potential mechanism of aggregate toxicity, evidence to support their existence in vivo has been limited. We report the use of a technique we have termed biological on-line tracer sedimentation (BOLTS) to detect abnormal high-molecular-weight complexes (HMWCs) in serum samples from individuals with systemic amyloidosis due to aggregation and deposition of wild-type transthyretin (senile systemic amyloidosis, SSA) or monoclonal immunoglobulin light chain (AL amyloidosis). In this proof-of-concept study, HMWCs were observed in 31 of 77 amyloid samples (40.3%). HMWCs were not detected in any of the 17 nonamyloid control samples subjected to BOLTS analyses. These findings support the existence of potentially toxic amyloid aggregates and suggest that BOLTS may be a useful analytic and diagnostic platform in the study of the amyloidoses or other diseases where abnormal molecular complexes are formed in serum.


Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences

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Analytical Biochemistry



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