A1M’s (alpha-1-microglobulin) job is to keep the body free of toxic substances. One group of potentially toxic substances is called ROS and these are by-products of the body’s reactions with oxygen in the air. A1M Pharma is the first pharmaceutical company to produce a drug from A1M – it will be called ROSgard™.

A1M, alfa-1-mikroglobulin
A1M (alpha-1-microglobulin) with two bound heme molecules

A1M protects the body against oxidative stress

What is oxidative stress? 
The fact that cars eventually rust and apples turn brown when cut is due to a reaction with oxygen in the air. The tissues, cells and molecules of the human body are exposed to similar “chemical wear and tear”, known as oxidative stress. One element of the body’s defence against oxidative stress is antioxidants, such as vitamins, which we can get from the food we eat. However, the most important antioxidants providing protection against oxidative stress are produced by the body itself, and one of these is the protein alpha-1-microglobulin.

How A1M protects our body 
A1M is a natural, endogenous protein (generated by the body itself) that is found in all vertebrates. A1M has a variety of functions in the body and has been shown to play a unique role in the body’s defence against oxidative stress and toxic substances that cause inflammation and tissue damage. This is how A1M works:
  • A1M captures the harmful substances that are formed in the body from oxygen in the air. These are called ROS, which is why A1M Pharma has called A1M ROSgard when it is used as a drug.
  • A1M also captures another harmful substance, heme, which is formed when tissues and cells break down.
  • A1M repairs tissue molecules that have been damaged by oxidative stress, which enables the tissue to heal.
  • A1M protects the mitochondria – the cells’ internal powerhouse.

When the body detects damage caused by oxidative stress, it speeds up production of A1M. A1M is produced in the liver, from where it begins its cleansing journey through the body, being transported quickly in the blood to all tissues. When the job is done it is carried via the blood and lymph to the kidneys, where it is broken down. Every organ in the body is continually being cleaned by new A1M and the turnover rate is just a few minutes.

A1M – cleans, protects, repairs
A1M – cleans, protects, repairs

A1M counteracts harmful free hemoglobin

Hemoglobin, often shortened to Hb, is a protein that transports oxygen to our tissues and organs. Hemoglobin consists of four heme groups – which all contain iron – and four protein units. Below you can see a hemoglobin molecule, with the heme groups in green.

oxidativ stress
Hemoglobin molecule. The heme groups are shown in green. (Image from Wikipedia)

Normally hemoglobin is safely packaged inside the red blood cells. However, when we bleed or develop certain conditions, including pre-eclampsia, it escapes freely into the body. When this free hemoglobin binds with oxygen it eventually forms free iron, heme and other toxic degradation products, which cause oxidative stress and consequently damage to blood vessels and the kidneys. A1M Pharma has shown that A1M is one of the body’s most important bodyguards against the harmful effects of free hemoglobin.

The biochemistry behind A1M’s functions

Put simply, biochemistry has to do with chemical processes in living organisms. The biochemistry behind A1M can be summarised as follow:

1. A1M defuses and repairs through electron transfer 
A1M defuses toxic substances (oxidants) and free radicals by providing them with electrons that they would otherwise steal from the body’s cells, tissues and molecules. This also means that A1M can repair molecules that have been badly damaged by oxidation by supplying them with electrons.

2. Captures toxic substances (radicals)
A1M reacts with small radicals so that they are captured within the A1M molecule. A major group of these radicals is called ROS, which is an abbreviation of “reactive oxygen species”. The radicals, which in a free state otherwise cause oxidative stress, are thus defused, or detoxified. One example of a molecule that can be captured by A1M is the highly oxidative iron-containing heme molecule, which is present in large amounts in the blood. Another example is kynurenine, which is a toxic degradation product of the amino acid tryptophan.

3. The body increases production of A1M (increased gene expression)
When our cells and tissues are exposed to oxidative stress from hemoglobin, heme and free radicals, production of A1M increases. Something that has been demonstrated in liver cells and blood cells, in the skin, and in the placenta in cases of pre-eclampsia. Experimental data suggests that the body’s organs probably get dual protection – from both circulating A1M molecules produced in the liver, and A1M molecules produced locally.
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