A nonspecific opsonin function has been ascribed to human alpha 2 HS glycoprotein. Its serum level has been shown to be decreased in trauma patients. Recent studies from this laboratory revealed a heterogeneity among the products obtained in the course of the preparation of the protein. To date, no definitive agreement existed with regard to a molecular homogeneous entity of alpha 2 HS glycoprotein (Ba-alpha 2 glycoproteins). The purpose of the current work was to study the variations in serum level of alpha 2 HS in patients suffering from an acute inflammatory process of bacterial etiology and to determine whether a decrease in alpha 2 HS was accompanied by the appearance of fragments of this protein in the serum. A method of preparing alpha 2 HS was thus developed, using an immune absorbent as a final purification step. In an intermediary step of the preparation, alpha 2 HS was found to bind zinc when metal chelate affinity chromatography was employed. Immunologically and physico-chemically pure alpha 2 HS was obtained. The protein consists of a unique polypeptide chain of about 50,000 daltons and has a unique amino-terminal residue, alanine. However, the protein maintained its molecular integrity with difficulty, and spontaneous fragments ranging from 30,000 to less than 10,000 daltons were produced in some of the preparations. No major modification in the molecular structure of the protein was noted in the sera of subjects suffering from an acute inflammatory process. Serum level of alpha 2 HS and alpha 1 antitrypsin (AT)was determined in 23 patients. When the acute-phase (AP-)reactant alpha 1 AT was increased (difference with normal mean greater than +2 or +3 SD), the sera showed a large decrease in alpha 2 HS (difference with normal mean less than -2 or -3 SD). The serum level of alpha 2 HS, albumin, alpha 2 macroglobulin, and of positive AP-reactants, orosomucoidinal study of seven patients. The results were submitted to a principal components analysis. Alpha 2 HS showed a negative correlation with the AP-reactants alpha 1 AT, orosomucoid, and haptoglobin (P less than 0.05) and a positive correlation with albumin (P less than 0.05); these findings indicate that alpha 2 HS is a negative AP-reactant. In addition, analysis of the principal components confirms thestrong analogy between alpha 2 HS and albumin and indicates that serum level behavior of the AP-reactants during the course of the disease closely depends on the protein studied.
J P Lebreton, F Joisel, J P Raoult, B Lannuzel, J P Rogez, G Humbert