Monitoring drug-protein interaction

Xiao Xia Yang, Ze Ping Hu, Sui Yung Chan, Shu Feng Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


A variety of therapeutic drugs can undergo biotransformation via Phase I and Phase II enzymes to reactive metabolites that have intrinsic chemical reactivity toward proteins and cause potential organ toxicity. A drug-protein adduct is a protein complex that forms when electrophilic drugs or their reactive metabolite(s) covalently bind to a protein molecule. Formation of such drug-protein adducts eliciting cellular damages and immune responses has been a major hypothesis for the mechanism of toxicity caused by numerous drugs. The monitoring of protein-drug adducts is important in the kinetic and mechanistic studies of drug-protein adducts and establishment of dose-toxicity relationships. The determination of drug-protein adducts can also provide supportive evidence for diagnosis of drug-induced diseases associated with protein-drug adduct formation in patients. The plasma is the most commonly used matrix for monitoring drug-protein adducts due to its convenience and safety. Measurement of circulating antibodies against drug-protein adducts may be used as a useful surrogate marker in the monitoring of drug-protein adducts. The determination of plasma protein adducts and/or relevant antibodies following administration of several drugs including acetaminophen, dapsone, diclofenac and halothane has been conducted in clinical settings for characterizing drug toxicity associated with drug-protein adduct formation. The monitoring of drug-protein adducts often involves multi-step laboratory procedure including sample collection and preliminary preparation, separation to isolate or extract the target compound from a mixture, identification and determination. However, the monitoring of drug-protein adducts is often difficult because of short half-lives of the protein adducts, sampling problem and lack of sensitive analytical techniques for the protein adducts. Currently, chromatographic (e.g. high performance liquid chromatography) and immunological methods (e.g. enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) are two major techniques used to determine protein adducts of drugs in patients. The present review highlights the importance for clinical monitoring of drug-protein adducts, with an emphasis on methodology and with a further discussion of the application of these techniques to individual drugs and their target proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-29
Number of pages21
JournalClinica Chimica Acta
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 2006


  • Antibody
  • Drug-protein adduct
  • Patient
  • Toxicity
  • Validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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