Table of Contents
ISRN Hematology
Volume 2011, Article ID 690620, 6 pages
Research Article

The Role of Albumin in Human Toxicology of Cobalt: Contribution from a Clinical Case

1Section of Occupational Health and Industrial Hygiene, Department of Experimental and Applied Medicine, University of Brescia, P.le Spedali Civili 1, 25123 Brescia, Italy
2Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Verona, 37129 Verona, Italy
3Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Unit of Neurology, University of Brescia, 25123 Brescia, Italy

Received 27 August 2010; Accepted 21 October 2010

Academic Editor: M. Ohsawa

Copyright © 2011 Simona Catalani 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.


The distribution and adverse effects, especially to optic and acoustic nerves, of cobalt released from a hip arthroplasty and its association with albumin were studied. The analysis of cobalt was performed in plasma, whole blood, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The fraction of albumin binding the metal was determined by colorimetric assay using dithiothreitol (DTT). In all the biological matrices very high levels of cobalt were measured, but contrary to expected, a higher concentration in whole blood than in plasma was observed. The determination of altered albumin confirmed this hypothesis. This evidence might indicate an alteration in the binding of cobalt to albumin and a consequent increase in the concentration of the diffusible (free) fraction of the metal. This appears an interesting starting point for further investigations for identifying and better understanding cobalt neurotoxicity, apparently not so frequent in occupational medicine and clinical practice.