Due to the unusual presence of several different hemoglobin components in the rat, determination of glycated hemoglobin (Hb) has been considered difficult and often unreliable in this animal species. In the present study, we compare a fully automated high-performance liquid chromatographic (HPLC) method of analysis of glycated hemoglobin that has been assessed for clinical use with an affinity chromatography technique using boronate micro-columns; we used blood samples taken from Sprague-Dawley rats of various ages and streptozotocin-diabetic rats. In nondiabetic rats, the sum of HbA1c and other minor glycated hemoglobins separated by the HPLC method is close to the total glycated hemoglobin obtained by affinity chromatography for each age group of animals. In diabetic rats, the glycated hemoglobins measured by whatever method show a linear increase during the first 3 weeks following streptozotocin administration, with the difference that glycated hemoglobin values obtained by affinity chromatography are markedly higher than those obtained by HPLC technique. Interestingly, a comparative determination of glycated hemoglobin in diabetic patients gives the same results with both methods. Therefore, it appears that in the rat, unlike man, at high glucose concentrations glycation occurs preferentially at the amino groups of hemoglobin components, which are not separated by the HPLC method. Our results indicate that while affinity chromatography should be used to detect the total extent of hemoglobin glycosylation in diabetic rats, the utilization of rapid and automatized HPLC procedures can be a very convenient alternative for the determination of glycated hemoglobin in both euglycemic and hyperglycemic rats.
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