Molecular characterization of beta-trace protein in human serum and urine: a potential diagnostic marker for renal diseases

Glycobiology. 1997 Jun;7(4):499-506. doi: 10.1093/glycob/7.4.499.


We have isolated beta-trace protein from cerebrospinal fluid, serum, plasma, and urine samples of normal volunteers and sera and hemofiltrate of patients with chronic renal failure. Blood-derived and urinary beta-trace have significantly higher molecular weights than their cerebrospinal fluid counterpart, the amino acid sequences being identical. Oligosaccharide structural analysis revealed these molecular weight differences to be due to different N-glycosylation. beta-Trace from hemofiltrate and urine has larger sugar chains and concurrently significantly higher sialylation than cerebrospinal fluid-beta-trace which bears truncated "brain-type" oligosaccharide chains (published previously). beta-Trace concentrations were about 40 ng/ml for normal sera and plasma. 2000-6000 ng/ml were measured in sera of dialysis patients whereas in normal human cerebrospinal fluid, beta-trace concentration was about 8000 ng/ml. A reduced amount of 900 ng/ml was found in a single case of hydrocephalus cerebri. The sialylated glycoforms of beta-trace detected in the blood are presumably derived from resorbed cerebrospinal fluid protein whereas beta-TP-molecules bearing asialo-oligosaccharides are absent due to their hepatic clearance. The residual, sialylated beta-TP-species are probably eliminated from the blood via the kidney. This physiological clearance mechanism for the sialylated glycoforms is disturbed in hemodialysis patients resulting in about 100-fold elevated serum concentrations. These results let us suggest beta-trace may become a useful novel diagnostic protein in renal diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Beta-Globulins / analysis*
  • Beta-Globulins / chemistry
  • Beta-Globulins / urine
  • Biomarkers*
  • Carbohydrate Conformation
  • Glycosylation
  • Humans
  • Intramolecular Oxidoreductases*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / blood*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / urine*
  • Lipocalins
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Molecular Weight
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid / metabolism
  • Oligosaccharides / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides / analysis
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry
  • Reference Values
  • Renal Dialysis


  • Beta-Globulins
  • Biomarkers
  • Lipocalins
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Polysaccharides
  • Intramolecular Oxidoreductases
  • prostaglandin R2 D-isomerase
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid