Rheumatoid Arthritis and Women’s Health
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterised by pain, swelling and stiffness in joints which commonly affects the hands, wrists and feet. Whilst both men and women can suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, it is more commonly seen in women than men.
Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common autoimmune disease with a higher prevalence rate compared to lupus, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease and psoriasis.
The incidence rates of rheumatoid arthritis differ between men and women. The onset of RA occurs much earlier for women, for most, during their 30’s and 40’s. In an American study, it was noted that the incidence rates peak for women around the ages of 55 to 64, compared to 75 to 84 years of age for men.
As most women are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in their 30’s and 40’s, a study found that the diagnosis negatively impacts both the body and mind of women, as indicated in their pain, disease activity, and quality of life scores. This is due to women being diagnosed at a time when their burdens are the heaviest as this is the time when women are most likely to have children or are raising children combined with work and socialising.
Changes in hormone levels also impacts women. It has been noted that before a menstrual period, women find the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis to be more severe, but settles during their cycle. Also, due to the changes in hormone levels during pregnancy, 50 – 60% of women with rheumatoid arthritis noticed that their symptoms improved.
The key to managing rheumatoid arthritis is to start the treatment as early as possible as it can halt or slow the disease, preventing joint damage and complications, including: osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Rheumatoid arthritis increases the risk of heart attack by 60%. To start treatment as early as possible, it is important that it is diagnosed as early as possible.
Randox offer a number of key assays for the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid factor is the most routinely run test to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis as 80% of rheumatoid arthritis patients test positive for rheumatoid factor. The Randox Rheumatoid Factor reagent offers the following benefits:
- Wide measuring range of 6.72 – 104lU/ml for the accurate measurement of clinically important results
- Accurate assessment of rheumatoid factor titre (calibrant standardised against primary WHO material; 1st British Standard 64/2)
- No interference from complement C1q
- Automated immunoturbidimetric assay
- Applications available for a wide range of biochemistry analysers, detailing instrument-specific settings
It has been found that complement C4 and CRP upregulation indicates the middle to late stages of rheumatoid arthritis.
The Randox Complement C4 reagent offers the following benefits:
- Wide measuring of 3.41 – 152mg/dl for the accurate measurement of clinically significant results
- Limited interferences from Bilirubin, Haemoglobin, Intralipids, and Triglycerides, producing more accurate results
- Automated immunoturbidimetric assay
- Applications available for a wide range of biochemistry analysers, detailing instrument-specific settings
The Randox High-Sensitivity CRP reagent offers the following benefits:
- Wide measuring of 0.477 – 10mg/l fir the accurate measurement of clinically significant results
- Liquid ready-to-use reagents for convenience and ease of use
- Applications available for a wide range of biochemistry analysers, detailing instrument-specific settings
Lp(a) is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), even when classical risk factors such as hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and diabetes have been taken into consideration. High levels of Lp(a) is a heredity condition, associated with complex mechanisms involving the proatherogenic and prothrombotic pathways (1).
Traditional CVD testing panel
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), CVD is the leading cause of death globally, accounting for 31 percent of deaths, totalling 17.7 million deaths per year. 80 percent of all CVD deaths are attributed to heart attacks and strokes, equivalent to 1 in 4. Identifying those who are at a high risk of developing CVD and ensuring that they are receiving the appropriate treatment can prevent premature deaths (2).
The lipid profile is frequently used to assess an individual’s risk of CVD developing later in life. Routine tests to assess CVD risk include: triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). LDL-C has been found to strongly correlate with CVD risk (3). NICE recommend measuring total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol and triglycerides as the full lipid profile and then review other risk factors, including: age, diet, smoking, QRISK, co-morbidities to view risk and the management of risk (4). However, the current lipid panel needs to be adjusted to ensure that its utilisation is effective in meeting clinician and patient needs.
Lipoprotein (a) or Lp(a) consists of two protein molecules, apolipoprotein (a) or apo(a) is covalently linked by a disulphide bond to the apolipoprotein B-100 or apoB-100 of a cholesterol-rich low-density lipoprotein or LDL like particle. Lp(a) is synthesised in the liver and is detectable in the bloodstream (5).
The structure of Lp(a) resembles that of the proteins involved in the breakdown of blood clots, plasminogen and tissue plasminogen activator (TPA). As a result, the biggest concern with Lp(a) is that it prohibits the ability of these proteins to break down blood clots by competing for the ‘binding to fibrin’, boosting the blood’s clotting ability within arteries, thus heightening the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Consequently, high levels of Lp(a) is characterised by atherosclerosis including coronary heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, aortic stenosis, thrombosis and stroke (6).
The Journal of the American Medical Association reviewed 36 studies in 2009 which assessed ‘the role of Lp(a) and vascular disease’ in 126,634 individuals. The study found that a 3.5-fold increase in Lp(a) levels was accompanied with a 13 percent higher risk of coronary heart events and a 10 percent higher risk of stroke (7).
Later, an Italian population study carried out on 826 individuals in 2014 found that elevated levels of Lp(a) is due to two different variations of the apo(a) gene which is determined by the kringle sequence differences at the apo(a) locus. The study found that individuals with one variation had a 50 percent greater risk of CVD, while individuals with both variations had 2.5 times greater risk (7).
According to the Lipoprotein Foundation (2015), based on genetic factors, from birth, one in five or 20% of individuals have high Lp(a) levels greater than 50mg/dL, with most blissfully unaware they have it. Overtime, high levels of Lp(a) gradually narrow the arteries, limiting blood supply to the brain, heart, kidneys and legs, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes (5).
Testing for high Lp(a) levels
The Lipoprotein (a) Foundation (2015) recommends that Lp(a) levels should be tested if:
- There is a family history of cardiovascular disease including stroke, heart attack, circulation problems in the legs and/or narrowing of the aorta, at a young age
- Stroke or heart attack if classical risk factors including high LDL-cholesterol, obesity, diabetes and smoking have been eliminated
- High levels of LDL-cholesterol following treatment with statins or other LDL lowering medications(5)
When selecting a Lp(a) assay, the Internal Federation of Clinical Chemistry (IFCC) (2004) Working Group on Lp(a) recommends that laboratories use assays that do not suffer from apo(a) size-related bias to minimise the potential risk of misclassification of patients for coronary heart disease (8).
The Lp(a) Foundation reference Marcovina and Albers (2016) in their recommendations for the best Lp(a) test. The study came to the following conclusions:
- Robust assays based on the Denka method, reportable in nanomoles per litre (nmol/L) are traceable to WHO/IFCC reference material
- Five-point calibrators with accuracy-based assigned target values will minimise the sensitivity of to the size of apo(a)
- Upon request, manufacturers should provide the certificate of evaluation of the calibrator and reagent lots with the relative expiration dates (9)
Benefits of the Randox Lp(a) assay
The Randox Lp(a) assay is one of the only methodologies on the market that detects the non-variable part of the Lp(a) molecule and so suffers minimal size related bias providing more accurate and consistent results. This methodology allows for the detection of Lp(a) in serum and plasma. The Randox Lp(a) kit is standardized to the WHO/IFCC reference material, SRM 2B, and is the closest in terms of agreement to the ELISA reference method.
A five-point calibrator is provided with accuracy-based assigned target values which accurately reflects the heterogeneity of isoforms present in the general population.
Liquid ready-to-use reagents are more convenient as the reagent does not need to be reconstituted, reducing the risk of errors.
Applications are available for a wide range of biochemistry analysers which details instrument-specific settings for the convenient use of the Randox Lp(a) assay on a variety of systems. Measuring units in nmol/L are available upon request.
- Li, Yonghong, et al. Genetic Variants in the Apolipoprotein(a) Gene and Coronary Heart Disease. Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine. [Online] October 2011. [Cited: April 24, 2018.] http://circgenetics.ahajournals.org/content/4/5/565.
- World Health Organisation. Cardiovascular Disease. [Online] 2017. [Cited: April 30, 2018.] http://www.who.int/cardiovascular_diseases/en/.
- Doc’s Opinion. Lipoprotein (a). [Online] 2013. [Cited: April 30, 2018.] https://www.docsopinion.com/health-and-nutrition/lipids/lipoprotein-a/.
- National Institutional for Health and Care Excellence. Cardiovascular disease: risk assessment and reduction, including lipid modification. [Online] July 2014. [Cited: April 30, 2018.] https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg181/chapter/1-recommendations#lipid-modification-therapy-for-the-primary-and-secondary-prevention-of-cvd-2.
- Lipoprotein(a) Foundation. Understand Inherited Lipoprotein(a). [Online] 2015. [Cited: April 24, 2018.] http://www.lipoproteinafoundation.org/?page=UnderstandLpa.
- Heart UK. Lipoprotein (a). [Online] June 23, 2014. [Cited: April 24, 2018.] https://heartuk.org.uk/files/uploads/huk_fs_mfss_lipoprotein_02.pdf.
- Ashley, Robert. High lipoprotein(a) levels may indicate heart disease in some. The Brunswick News. [Online] March 05, 2018. [Cited: April 24, 2018.] https://thebrunswicknews.com/opinion/advice_columns/high-lipoprotein-a-levels-may-indicate-heart-disease-in-some/article_16ab1049-7a6f-5da0-8966-59e94ae31b6d.html.
- Dati, F; Tate, J R; Marcovina, S M; Steinmetz, A; International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine; IFCC Working Group for Lipoprotein(a) Assay Standardization. First WHO/IFCC International Reference Reagent for Lipoprotein(a) for Immunoassay–Lp(a) SRM 2B. NCBI. [Online] 2004. [Cited: April 30, 2018.] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15259385.
- Tsimikas, Sotirios. A Test in Context: Lipoprotein(a) – Diagnosis, Prognosis, Controversies, and Emergining Therapies. 6, s.l. : Elsevier, 2017, Vol. 69. 0735-1097.
Many people talk about their metabolism as if it is a muscle or organ they can somehow control. In reality, your metabolism refers to a series of chemical processes in each cell that turn the calories you eat into fuel to keep you alive.
Metabolism is the biochemical process of combining nutrients with oxygen to release the energy our bodies need to function. Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the number of calories your body burns to maintain vital body functions such as heart rate, brain function and breathing. RMR accounts for up to 75 percent of the calories you burn each day. Knowledge of your individual RMR is a critical piece of information to appropriately establish daily calorie needs.
The body’s major organs — the brain, liver, kidneys, and heart — account for about half of the energy burned at rest, while fat, the digestive system, and especially the body’s muscles account for the rest.
Did you know?
Approximately 20-25% of the world’s adult population have metabolic syndrome?
A common misconception surrounding metabolic health is that it refers solely to your weight, and if you are overweight you are considered to be unhealthy. But in actual fact this may not be entirely true. Good metabolism means that your body is in good overall health, which doesn’t account for just your weight! Common metabolic disorders include genetic metabolic disorders, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Understanding and testing to see how well your metabolism is functioning is key to ensuring long lasting health.
There are a number of genetic metabolic disorders caused by mutations of single genes. Examples of common disordersinclude Gaucher’s disease, hemochromatosis and cystic fibrosis. Gaucher’s disease is a genetic disorder that affects the body’s ability to break down fat that can accumulate in the liver/spleen and bone marrow. Hemochromatosis is a condition that is caused by the over-absorption and build-up of iron while cystic fibrosis is a metabolic disorder that appears as a result of a build-up of mucus in lungs/liver and intestines. Each of these metabolic disorders affect certain organs from functioning properly and therefore your overall healthiness.
Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common types of metabolic disorders in the world that is expected to affect 592 million people by 2035. It is characterised by high blood sugar, insulin resistance or a lack of insulin being produced by the pancreas. Insulin resistance occurs when the body isn’t able to use insulin the right way which increases blood glucose levels. Insulin is needed for cells to take in glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream and convert it into energy. Over time this lack of insulin can damage the organs in your body.
Metabolic syndrome (also known as syndrome X, Reaven’s syndrome, and CHAOS) is not a disease but a collection of risk factors that affect your health; these include high blood pressure, high blood sugar/cholesterol and abdominal fat. Left untreated, these risk factors, together, can lead to long term serious problems including an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and developing type 2 diabetes.
Can you improve your metabolic health?
Yes! The good news is that if you discover that your metabolic health is not up to scratch you can improve it through a combination of diet, exercise and lifestyle adjustments such as:
- 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise 5-7 times a week
- Low-dose aspirin to reduce your risk of stroke or heart attack
- Quit smoking
- Medication for blood pressure/cholesterol/ blood sugar
- Limit alcohol intake
- Eat a healthy balanced diet
Randox has developed the RX series of clinical chemistry analysers for superior semi-automated and fully automated testing. The RX series extensive dedicated test menu goes beyond routine testing and has many unique and high-performance tests available. Our range of tests covers several parameters to assess your overall metabolic health.
Metabolic Health Profile
|Alkaline Phosphatase||C02 Total||Sodium|
|AST (GOT)||Glucose||Total Protein|
The RX series clinical chemistry analysers provide laboratories with a robust and smart solution ensuring you maintain a consistent workflow and can provide accurate results first time, every time. Offering excellent customer support services, our trained engineers are on hand to work with you in preserving the continuity of your operations while maximising the potential of your RX series instrument.Our world-famous test menu of high quality reagents ensures excellence in patient care, guaranteeing unrivalled precision and accuracy reducing costly test re-runs or misdiagnosis and offering complete confidence in results.
For more information visit: https://dev.randox.com/clinical-chemistry-analysers/
A peer-reviewed study, published in The Lancet Medical Journal suggests there are five types of diabetes. Could diabetes be more complex than we once thought? Could diabetes be segmented into five separate diseases?
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is an incurable disease which prohibits the body’s ability to produce and respond to insulin. Currently, diabetes is classified into two main forms, type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease which manifests in childhood. In type 1 diabetes, the body’s white blood cells attack the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. As a result, individuals with Type 1 diabetes rely on the injection of insulin for the remainder of their lives.
Type 1 diabetes affects 10 percent of individuals with diabetes. 96 percent of children diagnosed with diabetes have type 1. Type 1 diabetes in children is commonly diagnosed between the ages of 10 and 14. The prevalence of type 1 diabetes in children and young people (under the age of 19) is 1 in every 430-530 and the incidence of type 1 in children under 14 years of age is 24.5/100,000 (Diabetes UK, 2014).
Type 2 diabetes is the result of insulin resistance, meaning that the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the body’s cells do not respond to the insulin produced. As type 2 diabetes is a mixed condition, with varying degrees of severity, there are a few methods to manage the disease, including dietary control, medication and insulin injections.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, affecting 90 percent of individuals with diabetes, and has now become a global burden. The global prevalence of diabetes has almost doubled from 4.7 percent in 1980 to 8.5 percent in 2014, with a total of 422 million adults living with diabetes in 2014. It is expected to rise to 592 million by 2035. In 2012, diabetes accounted for 1.5 million deaths globally with hypertension causing a further 2.2 million deaths. 43 percent of these deaths occurred before 70 years of age. Previously type 2 diabetes was commonly seen in young adults but is now commonly seen in children as well. In 2017, 14% more children and teenagers in the UK were treated for diabetes compared to the year before (World Health Organization, 2016).
In both forms of diabetes, hyperglycemia can occur which can lead to number of associated complications including renal disease, cardiovascular disease, nerve damage and retinopathy.
The novel subgroups of adult-onset diabetes and their association with outcomes: a data-driven cluster analysis of six variables – peer-review study
This new research studied 13,270 individuals from different demographic cohorts with newly diagnosed diabetes, taking into consideration body weight, blood sugar control and the presence of antibodies, in Sweden and Finland.
This peer-reviewed study identified 5 disease clusters of diabetes, which have significantly different patient characteristics and risk of diabetic complications. The researchers also noted that the genetic associations in the clusters differed from those seen in traditional type 2 diabetes.
Cluster One – Severe autoimmune diabetes (SAID)
SAID is similar to type 1 diabetes. SAID manifests in childhood, in patients with a low BMI, have poor blood sugar and metabolic control due to insulin deficiency and GADA. 6% of individuals studied in the ANDIS study were identified with having SAID.
Cluster Two – Severe insulin-deficient diabetes (SIDD)
SIDD is similar to SAID, however, GADA is negative. This means that the characteristics of SIDD are the same as SAID, young, of a healthy weight and struggled to make insulin, however, SIDD is not the result of an autoimmune disorder as no autoantibodies are present. Patients have a higher risk of diabetic retinopathy. 18% of subjects in the ANDIS study were identified with having SIDD.
Cluster Three – Severe insulin-resistant diabetes (SIRD)
SIRD is similar to that of type 2 diabetes and is characterised by insulin-resistance and a high BMI. Patients with SIRD are the most insulin resistant and have a significantly higher risk of kidney disease, and microalbuminuria, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. 15% of subjects in the ANDIS study were identified as having SIRD.
Cluster Four – Mild obesity-related diabetes (MOD)
MOD is a mild form of diabetes which generally affects a younger age group. This is not characterised by insulin resistance but by obesity as their metabolic rates are close to normal. 22% of subjects in the ANDIS study were identified as having MOD.
Cluster Five – Mild age-related diabetes (MARD)
MARD is the most common form of diabetes manifesting later in life compared to the previous four clusters. Patients with MARD have mild problems with glucose regulation, similar to MOD. 39% of subjects in the ANDIS study were identified with having MARD.
This new sub-classification of diabetes could potentially enable doctors to effectively diagnose diabetes earlier, through the characterisation of each cluster, including: BMI measurements, age, presence of autoantibodies, measuring HbA1c levels, ketoacidosis, and measuring fasting blood glucose levels. This will enable a reduction in the incidence of diabetes complications and the early identification of associated complications, and so patient care can be tailored, thus improving healthcare (NHS, 2018) (The Week, 2018) (Ahlqvist, et al., 2018) (Collier, 2018) (Gallagher, 2018).
The Randox diabetes reagents cover the full spectrum of laboratory testing requirements from risk assessment, using our Adiponectin assay, to disease diagnosis and monitoring, using our HbA1c, glucose and fructosamine assays, to the monitoring of associated complications, using our albumin, beta-2 microglobulin, creatinine, cystatin c, d-3-hydroxybutyrate, microalbumin and NEFA assays.
Whilst this study is valuable, alone it is not sufficient for changes in the diabetes treatment guidelines to be implemented, as the study only represents a small proportion of those with diabetes. For this study to lead the way, the clusters and associated complications will need to be verified in ethnicities and geographical locations to determine whether this new sub-stratification is scientifically relevant.
Ahlqvist, E. et al., 2018. Novel subgroups of adult-onset diabetes and their association with outcomes: a data-driven cluster analysis of six variables. [Online]
Available at: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587(18)30051-2/fulltext?elsca1=tlpr
[Accessed 16 April 2018].
Collier, J., 2018. Diabetes: Study proposes five types, not two. [Online]
Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321097.php
[Accessed 16 April 2018].
Diabetes UK, 2014. Diabetes: Facts and Stats. [Online]
Available at: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/resources-s3/2017-11/diabetes-key-stats-guidelines-april2014.pdf
[Accessed 16 April 2018].
Gallagher, J., 2018. Diabetes is actually five seperate diseases, research suggests. [Online]
Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-43246261
[Accessed 16 April 2018].
NHS, 2018. Are there actually 5 types of diabetes?. [Online]
Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/news/diabetes/are-there-actually-5-types-diabetes/
[Accessed 16 April 2018].
The Week, 2018. What are the five types of diabetes?. [Online]
Available at: http://www.theweek.co.uk/health/92048/what-are-the-five-types-of-diabetes
[Accessed 16 April 2018].
World Health Organization, 2016. Global Report on Diabetes, Geneva: World Health Organization.
With the Grand National around the corner, Randox Reagents have investigated the importance of equine health, focusing on racehorses.
Maintaining good health in racehorses is vital as proper management can reduce the incidence of many disease conditions. Racehorses are bred, raised, and trained to perform as athletes. Therefore, it is vital that the performance health of racehorses is continually assessed to ensure that they are physically fit, happy and healthy.
Racehorse’s have a busy life. They are broken in from 18 months of age, usually using traditional methods such as long reining, followed by accepting a rider and training alongside other horses. At 2 years of age, the real training begins which focuses on fitness and speed rather than ‘schooling’ the horse in the conventional way. This training is undertaken alongside another horse to teach the trainee horse how to race but at the same time, it is taught to settle and listen to the jockey.
In peak season, the horse’s weekly exercise regime consists of: two days of fast gallop work with steady trotting or cantering the rest of the week, with a rest day on Sunday’s (depending on races scheduled for the horse).
The most important bodily systems for top athletic performance in racehorses include:
Skeletal system (including bone, tendons and ligaments) problems such as torn or stretched ligaments or tendons or a broken bone will be very painful, inducing lameness and prohibiting performance
Muscles enable the horse to perform. Fatigued or damaged muscles will result in poor performance as the horse cannot generate enough energy and strength to maintain its high performance
Respiratory system (nasal passages, throat and lungs) problems prohibits the normal flow of oxygen through the body, which prohibits the energy required for exercise
Cardiovascular system (heart, blood vessels, volume of blood and red blood cells) problems prohibits the movement of oxygen from the lungs to the muscles, again prohibiting the generation of energy required for exercise.
Central nervous system (CNS) problems can result in the loss of coordination and the fine control that accompanies minor problems to the CNS can significantly prohibit exercise performance
Due to the intense training that racehorses undergo, it is vitally important that their health is continually assessed to diagnose and treat injuries and the jockey allows the horse time to recover from the injury. The most common sites of injury include: forelegs, back and pelvis such as bowed tendon (tendonitis), strained suspensory ligaments, splints, osselets, sesamoid fractures, condylar fractures, knee fractures, bone chips, bucked skins and pin firing. It is vitally important that racehorses are allowed time to rest and heal after an injury. Training or racing a horse whilst injured can be detrimental.
Randox Equine Panel
Randox offer 10 scientifically proven assays for equine health which are made from the same high-quality material as our human assays, providing accurate and precise results. These assays have extensive measuring ranges for the accurate detection of disease or inflammation which are suitable for use with serum, plasma and whole blood. Instrument specific applications (ISA’s) are available for an extensive range of biochemistry analysers suitable for use with manual, semi-automated and fully automated analysers.
The Randox range of assays, suitable for equine use, cover a range of biomarkers:
Adiponectin is used to assess equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) which is characterised by obesity, regional adiposity, insulin resistance, and susceptibility to laminitis. Laminitis is one of the most common causes of lameness in horses. It is a painful and potentially crippling condition, which in severe cases usually results in the horse being humanely euthanised.
Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) levels directly correlate with the severity of muscle inflammation or damage, or liver damage. The highest levels of AST will be seen around 24hours after muscle injury and persist for 2-3 weeks.
CK-NAC is a sensitive marker for the detection of musculoskeletal diseases; and is useful to assess the extent of severe muscle trauma, crush injuries, and burns and the likelihood of developing rhabdomyolysis.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disorder associated with a deficiency in complement C4. Complement C4 is one of nine components of the complement system which is an integral part of the immune system that enhances (complements) the ability of antibodies and phagocytic cells to clear microbes and damaged cells from the host, promote inflammation, and attack the cell membrane of pathogens.
Complement C4 is a vital component of two immunology pathways: Classical pathway and Mannrose Binding Lectin (MBL) pathway.
The classical pathway is triggered by antibody-antigen complexes which induces a conformational change in the C1 complex. The activated C1 complex cleaves the C4 component, resulting in a reactive C4b which covalently binds to proteins or polysaccharides at the surface in close proximity of the C1 component. The bound C4b complexes binds to the C2 component rendering C2 for proteolysis by C1.
The MBL pathway is activated through the binding of MBL to mannose residues on the pathogen surface. This in turn activates the MBL-associated serine proteases, MASP-1 and MASP-2, which activates the C4 and C2 components, to form the C3 convertase, C4b2a. The C4b2a complex splits C3 into two fragments which causes the release of vasoactive mediators such as histamine.
Complement C4 deficiency is commonly associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
According to lupus.org, 16,000 new cases of lupus are reported each year. Approximately 1 in 250 people may end up developing SLE at some point with 90% of SLE patients being female aged between 15-44 years. The causes of SLE are unknown, but are believed to be linked to environmental, genetic, and hormonal factors. 1.5 million Americans are living with diagnosed lupus.
There are four forms of lupus:
- Systemic – accounts for approximately 70% of all lupus cases. In half of these cases, a major organ or tissue in the body, such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, or brain will be affected.
- Cutaneous lupus – accounts for approximately 10% of all lupus cases and only affects the skin.
- Drug-induced lupus accounts for approximately 10% of all lupus cases and is caused by high doses of certain medications.
- Neonatal lupus is a rare condition in which the mother’s antibodies affect the fetus. At birth, the baby may have a skin rash, liver problems, or low blood cell counts, but these symptoms typically disappear completely after six months with no lasting effects.
The Randox Complement C4 assay
The Randox Complement C4 assay is used for the quantitative in vitro determination of complement C4 concentration in serum. The Randox Complement C4 assay can be used as a biomarker in the diagnosis and monitoring of SLE. It is the cell-bound levels of processed complement activation products, especially E-C4d (erythrocyte-bound C4) that makes the complement C4 assay a biomarker for SLE.
Key Features of the Randox Complement C4 assay
Liquid ready-to-use reagents – The Randox reagent comes in a convenient liquid format requiring minimal preparation thus reducing the risk of errors.
Exceptional correlation with standard methods – The Randox methodology was compared against other commercially available methods and the Randox Complement C4 assay showed a correlation coefficient of r=0.98.
Wide measuring range – The healthy range for Complement C4 is 7 -49 mg/dl. The Randox Complement C4 assay can comfortably detect levels outside of the healthy range measuring between 2.90 – 152 mg/dl.
On 8th March 2018, Randox Reagents are supporting World Kidney Day! World Kidney Day is an annual campaign and partnership to raise awareness of the importance of our kidneys to our overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide.
This year, the World Kidney Day theme is: “Kidney Disease and Women’s Health: Include, Value, Empower”. Chronic kidney disease affects approximately 195 million women worldwide and it is currently the 8th leading cause of death in women, with close to 600,000 deaths per year.
Chronic kidney disease in women has increased over the years. Women over the age of 50 and African American women have seen the highest rise of kidney failure. This has been attributed to obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. It is important that women are screened for renal impairment as although treatment of kidney disease in men and women are the same, the complications associated with renal impairment in women is greater than in men. The complications women are faced with due to renal impairment include: irregular periods, diminished sex drive and difficulties conceiving. Whilst it is difficult for a woman with renal impairment to conceive, it is not impossible, however, 50% of babies born to women on dialysis survived with most being born prematurely due to high blood pressure. There are several measures that women can take to reduce their likelihood of developing renal impairment or manage their symptoms including; lifestyle changes, medication to control associated problems, dialysis and kidney transplant.
The standard marker for renal functional is creatinine as creatinine clearance gives a measure of the glomerular filtration rate (GFR), however, creatinine levels are unreliable in individuals who are obese, malnourished, have liver cirrhosis or reduced muscle mass. Due to this, Randox developed an automated test for Cystatin C, a superior marker of kidney dysfunction.
The Randox Cystatin C assay
Cystatin C is a small (13kDa) cysteine proteinase inhibitor that is produced at a constant rate by all nucleated cells. The small molecular weight of cystatin C allows it to be completely removed and broken down by the kidneys. Therefore, levels remain steady if the kidneys are working efficiently and the Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) is normal.
There are several studies that have documented the superiority of cystatin C compared to creatinine as a marker of GFR function. Unlike creatinine, cystatin C does not have a ‘blind area’ meaning it is extremely sensitive to very small changes in GFR and therefore capable of detecting early reductions in GFR. Up to 50% of renal function can be lost before significant creatinine levels are detected. GFR estimates based on cystatin C are less influenced by diet or muscle mass compared to GFR estimates based on creatinine, therefore, Cystatin C is also beneficial if the patient is overweight, elderly or has a lot of muscle mass. Cystatin C is also beneficial if previous kidney function tests were inconclusive.
World Kidney Day and Randox are working towards improving healthcare globally. With continuous investment into R&D, Randox are striving to develop the earliest biomarker for renal function to prevent serious complications.
This year, Randox Reagents are supporting Rare Disease Day on 28th February. Randox offer a test that aids in the diagnosis and monitoring of Wilson Disease and Menkes Disease which are rare inherited disorders of copper metabolism.
What is a rare disease?
According to the European Union, a rare disease is defined as a disease that affects less than 5 in 10,000 of the general population. 7% of the population will be affected by a rare disease at some point in their life. This equates to 30 million people in Europe.
Wilson Disease is a rare inherited autosomal recessive disorder of copper metabolism, characterised by excessive deposition of copper in various bodily tissues, particularly the liver, brain, and corneas of the eyes. This is due to mutations of the ATP7B gene which is responsible for encoding specific proteins that are responsible for the transportation of copper from the liver around the body, which is prohibited due to the mutations. If left untreated, Wilson Disease can cause hepatic disease, central nervous system dysfunction, or death. Approximately 1 in 300,000 people are affected by Wilson Disease worldwide (WDA, 2018). The first sign of Wilson Disease is liver dysfunction in more than half of patients, beginning at six years of age, however, it usually presents clinically in teenage years or early twenties manifesting as acute hepatitis. Some individuals with Wilson Disease have been thought to have infectious hepatitis or infectious mononucleosis and so it is vital that those with unexplained, abnormal liver tests are tested for Wilson Disease.
Menkes Disease is more likely to affect premature babies and is a rare inherited x-link recessive disorder of copper metabolism, characterised by sparse, kinky hair; failure to gain weight and grow at the expected rate (failure to thrive); and deterioration of the nervous system. This is due to mutations of the ATP7A gene which is responsible for the absorption of copper from food in the small intestines and supplying copper to certain enzymes that are critical for the structure of bone, skin, hair, blood vessels, and the nervous system. Approximately 1 in 100,000 people are affected by Menkes disease worldwide (USA National Library of Medicine, 2018). The first sign of Menkes Disease develops at 2-3 months of age and includes curly, sparse, coarse, dull, and discoloured haired.
As there are no cures for Wilson Disease or Menkes Disease, treatment aids to reduce/replace copper within the body. The Randox Copper assay can comfortably detect copper levels outside of the healthy range to aid in the diagnosis and monitoring of treatment of Wilson Disease and Menkes Disease.
Randox Copper Assay
The Randox Copper assay is used to measure the amount of copper in the blood; to help with the diagnosis and monitoring of rare inherited diseases related to copper toxicity (Wilson Disease) and copper deficiency (Menkes Disease). Copper deficiency is less likely because a normal diet contains plenty of copper including organ meats, beans, and wholegrains, however, copper deficiency is more likely to occur in those who are malnourished, more likely children.
For more information visit: https://dev.randox.com/copper
To request an application for your specific analyser, contact email@example.com
Acetaminophen is a commonly used medicine for pain-relief. During cold and flu season, it is common to resort to pain-relief medicines to relieve headaches, and ache and pain symptoms associated with a cold or flu as there is no cure. However, the therapeutic range for acetaminophen is 10-30 mg/l, which is small and very easy to go over. During cold and flu season, it is important to monitor the amount of paracetamol entering your body as acetaminophen is more dangerous than suspected. At therapeutic levels, acetaminophen does not produce any adverse effects, however, long-term treatment, prolonged use, and taking a few more than the recommended dose can be severely damaging and fatal. Accidental acetaminophen overdose took the lives of 1,500 people in the U.S between 2001 and 2010. The Randox Acetaminophen assay is used to determine the concentration levels of acetaminophen in the blood to determine if an overdose has taken place.
It is commonly recognised that acetaminophen overdose causes hepatotoxicity, but it is less commonly recognised that it can also cause nephrotoxicity in less than 2% of patients. Nephrotoxicity is toxicity of the kidneys and is often associated with a reduced amount of glutathione which is important for normal cellular metabolism in the kidneys. The Randox Glutathione Reductase assay is required for the regeneration of reduced glutathione. Glutathione is often discussed in association with the Randox Glutathione Peroxidase, which requires reduced glutathione for activation. Both Glutathione reagents are unique to Randox.
Acute renal failure due to acetaminophen manifests as acute tubular necrosis, which can occur alone or in combination with hepatic necrosis. Nephrotoxicity can also occur when the therapeutic levels of acetaminophen are not exceeded. This most commonly occurs when acetaminophen is taken in combination with alcohol. Upon testing acetaminophen levels and the results fall within the therapeutic range, the Randox Ethanol assay can test alcohol levels to determine if a combination of alcohol and acetaminophen caused nephrotoxicity. Renal impairment may be more common than previously suspected as acute renal failure occurs in 10-40% of patients with severe hepatic necrosis. Upon testing acetaminophen to determine toxicity, Randox also offer the following renal tests to test for nephrotoxicity:
For more information visit: https://dev.randox.com/acetaminophen
To request an application for your specific analyser, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
“CVDs are the number 1 cause of death globally: more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause”. In 2015, roughly 17.7 million people died from CVD, representing 31% of all global deaths: 7.4 million were due to coronary heart disease and 6.7 million were due to stroke. (WHO, 2017)
Cardiac health and regular cardiovascular screening is important to enable risk factors to be detected in their earliest stages. There are a few factors which contribute to CVD. These include: smoking, unhealthy diet, excessive alcohol consumption, low physical activity levels. Whilst there are only a few factors contributing to CVD, these can be maintained by the patient through living a healthy lifestyle including: quitting smoking, consuming no more than the recommended allowance of alcohol, cutting out junk food, and exercising for 30 minutes a day, 3 – 5 days a week. In a perfect world, this would be easy and CVD would not be a global problem. However, due to busy lifestyles, cravings, reduced willpower, and convenience, not all individuals in today’s world will be able to avoid CVDs. Therefore, it is vitally important that individuals are tested for CVDs to detect them in the earliest stages to reduce damage, prevent further damage, or even death. Furthermore, many individuals suffer from inherited cardiac risk factors, which stresses the need for accurate testing of both traditional and novel cardiac risk biomarkers.
Randox offer the complete solution to cardiac risk assessment including: RX analysers, traditional and novel reagents, internal quality control (Acusera), and external quality control (RIQAS).
Randox has developed the RX series range of clinical chemistry analysers for high-quality semi-automated and fully automated testing. Choose between the RX misano, RX monaco, RX daytona+, RX imola, and the RX modena depending on the throughput of your laboratory. The RX series offers a suitable analyser for your laboratory’s needs. For more information on the Randox RX series, please click here or email email@example.com
As previously mentioned, early assessment of cardiac risk is vital. Randox offer a range of novel risk biomarkers for both very early and the genetic assessment of cardiac risk.
The niche Adiponectin assay allows for the early assessment of CVD. Adiponectin levels are inversely correlated with abdominal visceral fat which has proven to be a strong predictor of T2DM. Body-Mass Index (BMI) is a common method for determining which patients are classified as underweight, healthy, overweight or obese, however, BMI does not take into account gender, ethnicity or activity levels. For example, measuring the BMI of athletes who have a high BMI due to muscle weighing heavier than fat would classify them as obese which is inaccurate. Measuring adiponectin levels is therefore a much more reliable indicator of at-risk patients compared to BMI.
LDL cholesterol is often referred to as the ‘bad cholesterol’. High concentrations of LDL-cholesterol is considered to be the most important clinical predictor, of all single parameters, with respect to coronary atherosclerosis. However, sLDL is a smaller, more dense subfraction of LDL-cholesterol. sLDL particles more readily permeate the inner arterial wall and are more susceptible to oxidation. Individuals with a predominance of sLDL have a 3-fold increased risk of myocardial infarction. Measurement of sLDL allows the clinician to get a more comprehensive picture of lipid risk factors and tailor treatment accordingly.
Elevated levels of Lp(a) are considered to be both a casual risk factor and independent genetic marker of atherosclerotic disorders. The major challenge associated with Lp(a) measurement is the size variation of apo(a) within Lp(a). Dependent upon the size of apo(a) in the assay calibrator, many assays under or overestimate apo(a) size in the patient sample. Numerous commercially available products suffer apo(a) size related bias, resulting in an over estimation of Lp(a) in samples with large apo(a)molecules and an under estimation in samples with small apo(a) molecules. The antibody used in the Randox method detects the complete Lp(a) molecule providing accurate and consistent results. This was proven by the IFCC who developed a gold standard ELISA reference assay and compared 22 commercially available tests. The Randox Lp(a) method displayed the least (minimal) amount of apo(a) size related bias, proving it be a superior offering.
HDL3 Cholesterol is a smaller and more dense subfraction of the HDL particle. HDL is the scavenger of cholesterol within arterial walls and the levels of HDL3 is too low, the ability to remove this cholesterol is reduced. Therefore, it is widely accepted that there is an inverse correlation between HDL3 and CVD risk.
Instrument Specific Applications (ISA’s) are available for a wide range of biochemistry analysers. Contact us to enquire about your specific analyser.
Acusera – Internal Quality Control
The Acusera cardiac controls have been designed to cover a wide range of cardiac markers at clinical decision levels, eliminating the extra expense of an additional low level control. The controls are available in a both liquid ready-to-use and lyophilized formats making them ideal for all situations and manufactured from 100% human serum a matrix similar to that of the patient is guaranteed. For more information on the Randox Acusera internal quality control, please click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org
RIQAS – External Quality Control
The RIQAS Liquid Cardiac EQA programme is designed to monitor the performance of up to 9clinically significant cardiac markers including: CK-MB mass, D-dimer, Digoxin, homocysteine, hsCRP, myoglobin, NT proBNP, troponin I, and troponin T. RIQAS is ISO/IEC 17043 accredited and allows the registration of up to five instruments at no extra cost. All samples are 100% human serum and provided in a liquid ready-to-use format for enhanced convenience. Submit your results bi-weekly and view reports online via RIQAS.Net. For more information on RIQAS, the world’s largest international EQA scheme, please click here or email email@example.com
For further information, please contact the Randox PR team via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 028 9442 2413
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