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Biochemistry Research International
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 516704, 7 pages
Research Article

Inhaled Anesthetics Promote Albumin Dimerization through Reciprocal Exchange of Subdomains

1Department of Anesthesiology, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, 4401 Wornall Road, Kansas City, MO 64111, USA
2Biochemistry Department, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, 1750 Independence Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64106, USA

Received 1 October 2009; Revised 9 December 2009; Accepted 14 January 2010

Academic Editor: Vladimir Uversky

Copyright © 2010 Benjamin J. Pieters et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Inhaled anesthetics affect protein-protein interaction, but the mechanisms underlying these effects are still poorly understood. We examined the impact of sevoflurane and isoflurane on the dimerization of human serum albumin (HSA), a protein with anesthetic binding sites that are well characterized. Intrinsic fluorescence emission was analyzed for spectral shifting and self-quenching, and control first derivatives (spectral responses to changes in HSA concentration) were compared against those obtained from samples treated with sevoflurane or isoflurane. Sevoflurane increased dimer-dependent self-quenching and both decreased oligomer-dependent spectral shifting, suggesting that inhaled anesthetics promoted HSA dimerization. Size exclusion chromatography and polarization data were consistent with these observations. The data support the proposed model of a reciprocal exchange of subdomains to form an HSA dimer. The open-ended exchange of subdomains, which we propose occuring in HSA oligomers, was inhibited by sevoflurane and isoflurane.