Clinical chemistry

Investigation of N-methyl-D-glucamine buffer for assay of alkaline phosphatase in serum.

PMID 1424126


We evaluated N-methyl-D-glucamine (MEG) as a buffer for assay of alkaline phosphatase (ALP; EC and compared the MEG-based assay with the current International Federation of Clinical Chemistry Reference Method for ALP (IFCC/RM/ALP), in which 2-amino-2-methyl-1-propanol (AMP) is the pH buffer. The ALP assay in MEG at 30 and 37 degrees C shows excellent correlation with the IFCC/RM/ALP at 30 degrees C, but yields proportionately higher ALP activities (8.2% at 30 degrees C and 57% at 37 degrees C). ALP is unstable in both MEG and AMP at 37 degrees C. Serum incubated in MEG undergoes a pH-dependent biphasic loss of ALP activity: an initial rapid 5% loss after 1 min of incubation and a 10% loss per hour thereafter. A similar pattern was seen for incubation with AMP. The use of a serum-initiated reaction (no preincubation of enzyme with buffer) eliminated the early loss in activity. The addition of the metal ion buffer N-hydroxyethylethylenediaminetriacetic acid, along with low concentrations of Zn and Mg, as used in the IFCC/RM/ALP, reduced the slow loss in activity over time, as did decreasing the reaction temperature to 30 degrees C, but had no effect on the early rapid decay in activity seen in the first minute. Moderate transphosphorylation (45%) and nonenzymatic hydrolysis (3.3 U/L) were observed with MEG under the conditions of the assay (37 degrees C). A comparison of different lots of MEG from two manufacturers showed no significant difference in ALP activities.