Publication: Biospeciation of tungsten in the serum of diabetic and healthy rats treated with the antidiabetic agent sodium tungstate
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It is known that oral administration of sodium tungstate preserves the pancreatic beta cell function in diabetic rats. Healthy and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats were treated with sodium tungstate for one, three or six weeks, after which the species of W in serum, were analysed. An increase in serum W with treatment time was observed. After six weeks, the serum W concentration in diabetic rats (70 mg L−1) was about 4.6 times higher than in healthy specimens. This different behaviour was also observed for Cu accumulation, while the Zn pattern follows the contrary. The patterns observed in the retention of Cu and Zn may be attributable to a normalization of glycaemia. The speciation analysis of W was performed using 2D separations, including an immunoaffinity packing and a SEC (Size Exclusion Chromatography) column coupled to an ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry) for elemental detection. Ultrafiltration data together with SEC-ICP-MS results proved that around 80% of serum W was bound to proteins, the diabetic rats registering a higher W content than their healthy counterparts. Most of the proteinbound W was due to a complex with albumin. An unknown protein with a molecular weight higher tan 100 kDa was also found to bind a small amount of W (about 2%). MALDI-TOF (Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization Time-of-Flight) analysis of the desalted and concentrated chromatographic fractions confirmed albumin as the main protein bound to tungstate in rat serum, while no binding to transferrin (Tf) was detected. The interaction between glutathione and W was also evaluated using standard solutions; however, the formation of complexes was not observed. The stability of the complexes between W and proteins when subjected to more stringent procedures, like those used in proteomic methodologies (denaturing with urea or SDS, boiling, sonication, acid media, reduction with -mercaptoethanol (BME) or DTT (dithiotreitol) and alkylation with iodoacetamide (IAA), was also evaluated. Our results indicate that the stability of the complexes between W and proteins is not too high enough to remain unaltered during protein separation by SDS–PAGE in denaturing and reducing conditions. However, the procedures for in-solution tryptic digestion and for ESI-MS analysis in MeOH/H2O/with 0.1% formic acid could be used for protein identification without large loss of binding between W and proteins.