Nitrated plasma albumin as a marker of nitrative stress and neonatal encephalopathy in perinatal asphyxia

Free Radic Biol Med. 2009 Oct 1;47(7):975-82. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2009.07.003. Epub 2009 Jul 8.


Reactive nitrogen species (RNS) have been shown to play a major role in the pathophysiology of hypoxic-ischemic cerebral injury. Using a novel sensitive ELISA allowing the quantification of nitrated albumin (nitroalbumin) in plasma, we tested the hypothesis that perinatal asphyxia increases nitrating RNS generation by verifying whether the concentration of one of its target proteins is correlated with the clinical outcome. We assayed nitroalbumin in 114 plasma samples collected during the first hour, at day 1, and at day 4 of life from 48 term newborns suffering from perinatal asphyxia and correlated this marker with neurological and systemic neonatal outcomes. Nitroalbumin levels at day 1, but not at days 0 and 4, were significantly increased in patients who developed moderate or severe encephalopathy compared to those who had a normal neurological evolution or developed mild encephalopathy (median: 14.4 ng/ml versus 7.3 ng/ml, respectively). In contrast, nitroalbumin concentration at day 1 was not associated with systemic complications. First-hour and fourth-day nitroalbumin concentrations did not differ with respect to the neonatal neurological course. At day 0, nitroalbumin levels also correlated with circulating leukocytes. We conclude that plasma nitroalbumin seems to be a specific marker of neurological injury after perinatal asphyxia and may serve as a secondary end-point in neuroprotective clinical trials.

MeSH terms

  • Albumins / analysis
  • Albumins / chemistry*
  • Albumins / metabolism*
  • Asphyxia Neonatorum / metabolism*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cohort Studies
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / metabolism*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Reactive Nitrogen Species / metabolism*


  • Albumins
  • Biomarkers
  • Reactive Nitrogen Species