Researchers suggested that the quantification of metal-containing metalloproteins in the plasma of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) may not be useful for disease diagnosis and prognosis, as published in PLOS One.

The dyshomeostasis of metals such as Fe, Cu, and Zn has been implicated in the pathophysiology of MS and other diseases. Therefore, researchers from Canada quantified Fe, Cu, and Zn-containing metalloproteins in plasma collected from individuals with MS and acute ischemic stroke (AIS), as well as healthy controls.

They did not observe any significant difference in ceruloplasmin (P =.31), α2macroglobulin (P =.51), and transferrin (P =.31) levels when comparing the 3 groups; however, they did find an association between patient’s age and a Fe-peak corresponding to a haptoglobin-hemoglobin (Hp-Hb) complex for the AIS group (P =.012), but not for the MS group (P =.13).

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To determine the strength of association between the Hp-Hb complex and patient’s age and exclude possible modifications due to disease, the researchers conducted further analysis in the healthy group and found a positive association (r =0.39, 95% CI, -0.05-0.83).

“These results imply that either the biomolecular mechanisms that mediate the clearance of the Hp-Hb complex from the bloodstream slow down with age or that the fragility of red blood cells increases with age, which is associated with an increased influx of Hb into blood plasma and a higher steady state concentration of the Hp-Hb complex therein,” the authors said.

The study enrolled 21 individuals diagnosed with MS, 17 with AIS, and 21 healthy controls. Their plasma was analyzed by size exclusion chromatography coupled to an inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometer.


Sarpong-Kumankomah S, Knox KB, Kelly ME, et al. Quantification of human plasma metalloproteins in multiple sclerosis, ischemic stroke and healthy controls reveals an association of haptoglobin-hemoglobin complexes with age. PLOS One. 2022;17(1):e0262160. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0262160