The Analyst

Novel DFO-functionalized mesoporous silica for iron sensing. Part 2. Experimental detection of free iron concentration (pFe) in urine samples.

PMID 24883429


Successful in vivo chelation treatment of iron(iii) overload pathologies requires that a significant fraction of the administered drug actually chelates the toxic metal. Increased mobilization of the iron(iii) in experiments on animals or humans, most often evaluated from urinary output, is usually used as an assessment tool for chelation therapy. Alternatively, the efficiency of a drug is estimated by calculating the complexing ability of a chelating agent towards Fe(iii). The latter is calculated by the pFe value, defined as the negative logarithm of the concentration of the free metal ion in a solution containing 10 μM total ligand and 1 μM total metal at a physiological pH of 7.4. In theory, pFe has to be calculated taking into account all the complexation equilibria involving the metal and the possible ligands. Nevertheless, complexation reactions in complex systems such as serum and urine may hardly be accurately modelled by computer software. The experimental determination of the bioavailable fraction of iron(iii) in biological fluids would therefore be of the utmost relevance in the clinical practice. The efficiency of the therapy could be more easily estimated as well as the course of overload pathologies. In this context, the aim of the present work was the development of a sensor to assess the free iron directly in biological fluids (urine) of patients under treatment with chelating agents. In the proposed device (DFO-MS), the strong iron chelator deferoxamine (DFO) is immobilized on the MCM-41 mesoporous silica. The characterization of the iron(iii) sorption on DFO-MS was undertaken, firstly in 0.1 M KNO3, then directly in urine samples, in order to identify the sorption mechanism. The stoichiometry of the reaction in the solid phase was found to be: with an exchange constant (average value) of log βex = 40(1). The application of DFO-MS to assess pFe in SPU (Simulating Pathology Urine) samples was also considered. The results obtained were very promising for a future validation and subsequent application of the sensor in samples of patients undergoing chelation therapy.