New findings are detailed in a research paper that recently appeared online in the Journal of Neurotrauma. The paper, which also will appear in an upcoming print edition of the journal, was authored by doctoral students Lingxing Zheng, Jonghyuck Park, Michael Walls and Melissa Tully; Amber Jannasch, laboratory manager of the Metabolite Profiling Facility; and Cooper and Shi.
The method does not detect acrolein directly but determines the presence of a byproduct, or metabolite, of acrolein in the urine. The metabolite is a chemical compound called N-acetyl-S-3-Hydroxypropylcysteine, or 3-HPMA.
"Acrolein is very volatile, so it doesn't remain stable long enough to monitor, but one molecule of acrolein will make one molecule of 3-HPMA, which is very stable in urine," Shi said.
Laboratory rats were injected with different doses of acrolein, and findings showed that the detection technique is able to accurately measure these differences in acrolein concentration in the urine. The technique might one day be performed routinely in a doctor's office.
"The non-invasive nature of measuring 3-HPMA concentrations in urine allows for long-term monitoring of acrolein in the same animal and ultimately in human clinical studies," Shi said.
Two drugs have been shown to be effective in reducing acrolein levels in the body: hydralazine and phenelzine, which have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for hypertension and depression, respectively.
The testing method could be used in conjunction with other measures to test patients for the progress of spinal cord disease.
"Nervous system trauma and diseases are like many other illnesses: A
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