Effects of Tamm-Horsfall protein and albumin on the inhibition of free radicals

Urol Int. 2001;67(4):305-9. doi: 10.1159/000051008.


Introduction: Oxalate in urine can cause tubular cellular damage by the production of free radicals. Then, cell death and cellular debris may promote the retention of calcium oxalate crystals and finally the formation of stones. The two most abundant urinary proteins, Tamm-Horsfall protein (THP) and albumin, were tested for the effects of antioxidants.

Materials and methods: By using xanthine-xanthine oxidase reaction, purified THP and albumin were tested for the inhibitory effect. OD(295) was used as a spectrophotometric method to measure the production of uric acid during the reaction.

Results and conclusions: Both proteins can inhibit the reaction of xanthine oxidase on xanthine, although the effect was decreased after enzymatic deglycosylation of sialic acid. Albumin has an IC(50) of 10.7 nM in native condition and 11.9 nM after deglycosylation, whereas THP has 69.6 nM in native condition and 102.0 nM in deglycosylated condition. The data indicates that THP and albumin have an antioxidant effect. Sialic acid in THP has partly an inhibitory effect and is associated with calcium oxalate formation. Studies have indicated that further investigation of the role of free radicals in the formation of urolithiasis and of sialic acid in protein function is needed.

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / metabolism*
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / urine
  • Albumins / metabolism*
  • Calcium Oxalate / metabolism*
  • Crystallization
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Free Radicals / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mucoproteins / metabolism*
  • Mucoproteins / urine
  • Urinary Calculi / physiopathology
  • Uromodulin
  • Xanthine / metabolism
  • Xanthine Oxidase / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Albumins
  • Free Radicals
  • Mucoproteins
  • UMOD protein, human
  • Uromodulin
  • Xanthine
  • Calcium Oxalate
  • Xanthine Oxidase