Arginine vasopressin (AVP) plays a key role in many physiologic and pathologic processes. The most important stimulus for AVP release is a change in plasma osmolality. AVP is also involved in the response and adaptation to stress. Reliable measurement of AVP is hindered by several factors. Over 90% of AVP is tightly bound to platelets, and its estimation is influenced by the number of platelets, incomplete removal of platelets or pre-analytical processing steps. Copeptin (CTproAVP), a 39-aminoacid glycopeptide, is a C-terminal part of the precursor pre-provasopressin (pre-proAVP). Activation of the AVP system stimulates CTproAVP secretion into the circulation from the posterior pituitary gland in equimolar amounts with AVP. Therefore CTproAVP directly reflects AVP concentration and can be used as a surrogate biomarker of AVP secretion. In many studies CTproAVP represents AVP levels and its behavior represents changes in plasma osmolality, stress and various disease states, and shows some of the various physiologic and pathophysiologic conditions associated with increased or decreased AVP. Increased CTproAVP concentration is described in several studies as a strong predictor of mortality in patients with chronic heart failure and acute heart failure. Autosomal polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) patients have both central and nephrogenic defects in osmoregulation and CTproAVP balance. A possibility raised by these clinical observations is that CTproAVP may serve to identify patients who could benefit from an intervention aimed at countering AVP.
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