New evidence for the diversity of mechanisms and protonated Schiff bases formed in the non-enzymatic covalent protein modification (NECPM) of HbA by the hydrate and aldehydic forms of acetaldehyde and glyceraldehyde

Acetaldehyde is a physiological species existing in blood. Glyceraldehyde is a commonly used surrogate for glucose in studies of nonenzymatic glycation. Both species exist in dynamic equilibrium between two forms, an aldehyde and a hydrate. Nonenzymatic covalent protein modification (NECPM) is a process whereby a protein is covalently modified by a non-glucose species. The purpose here was to elucidate the NECPM mechanism(s) for acetaldehyde and glyceraldehyde with human hemoglobin (HbA). For the first time, both aldehydic and hydrate forms of acetaldehyde and glyceraldehyde were considered. Computations and model reactions followed by 1H NMR were employed. Results demonstrated that the aldehyde and hydrate forms of acetaldehyde bind and covalently-modify Val1 of HbA via different chemical mechanisms, yet generated an identical protonated Schiff base (PSB). The aldehyde and hydrate of glyceraldehyde also covalently modified Val1 via mechanisms distinct from one another, yet generated an identical PSB. It is noteworthy that the PSB from acetaldehyde and glyceraldehyde were different structures. The PSB from acetaldehyde is proposed to proceed to covalent adducts that have been implicated in alcohol toxicity. Conversely, the PSB generated from glyceraldehyde can form an Amadori which has been implicated in diabetic complications. Thus, the PSB structure generated from acetaldehyde versus glyceraldehyde may be central to pathophysiological outcomes because it determines the structure of the stable covalent adduct formed.