Improving the Accuracy and Reliability of Parathyroid Hormone Levels Through the Mass-Spectrometric Measurement of Full-length PTH and C-Terminal PTH Fragments
Journal of the Endocrine Society
Parathyroid hormone (PTH) is a key biomarker for hypo/hyperparathyrioidism as well as chronic kidney disease, one of the leading health conditions in the USA. As a result, the most recent update of the Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) guideline for CKD-MBD management emphasized the role of PTH as one of the key biomarkers of this disorder. The earlier stages of CKD generate few symptoms and only until the kidney is significantly impaired do patients begin experiencing signs of
... riencing signs of renal failure. Therefore, the measurement of parathyroid hormone (PTH) in serum and/or plasma is critical not only for the correct detection, diagnosis, and prevention of renal failure, but also calcium, phosphate, and vitamin D disorders. Current laboratory methods for PTH show high variability and inaccuracy, thus creating the need for a reference measurement procedure that can help laboratories and assay manufacturers improve their measurement accuracy and reliability to avoid the misclassification of patients. Due to the short half-life of PTH, this 84 amino-acid polypeptide hormone is produced at low circulating levels in normal conditions ranging from 10 - 65 pg/mL. In addition, N-terminal and C-terminal peptides, which have shown to interfere with clinical analyzer platforms, account for over 80% of all circulating PTH levels. Therefore, a highly specific and sensitive method is needed for the accurate detection of full-length PTH and these PTH fragments. There is clinical relevancy in the ability to measure C-terminal PTH fragments as the ratio of these PTH fragments to full-length PTH has been diagnostic for severe or end-stage renal disease, non-dynamic bone disease, and hyperparathyroid-associated bone loss. Bottom-up proteomics approaches that incorporate enzymatic digestion steps during sample preparation will result in the loss of information for the fragments. Therefore, a new, innovative, top-down proteomics method was developed to measure full-length PTH and its breakdown products (fragments) by mass spectrometry (UHPLC-HRMS). This method enabled, for the first time, the detection of full-length PTH at very low concentrations typically observed in patients with hypoparathyroidism as well as C-terminal fragments that may interfere with regular immunoassays typically used in patient care. The highly specific and sensitive method for PTH and related peptides in CKD patient sera demonstrated no interference from the internal standards and other PTH fragments. Therefore, the optimized method was applied for the screening of normal and CKD serum at various stages of disease progression. Preliminary results demonstrated that certain PTH fragments are correlated with eGFR and different stages of chronic kidney diseases (CKD). This method along with the respective findings from this study will help to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of CKD-MBD.