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Proteomic Identification of Novel Plasma Biomarkers and Pathobiologic Pathways in Alcoholic Acute Pancreatitis.


Acute pancreatitis (AP) is a painful and potentially life-threatening disorder with the potential for therapeutic interventions. Biomarkers that characterize cases by severity and pathogenic mechanisms involved are not yet available but needed for the implementation of rational therapies. Here, we used shotgun proteomics to obtain information from plasma samples about local and systemic pathologies taking place during cases of alcoholic AP. Plasma was obtained at Kaunas University of Medicine Hospital (Lithuania) from 12 AP patients of alcohol related etiology (median age of 40) within 24 h of presentation, and 12 age-matched, healthy controls. Patients entered into the study had moderately severe AP with the following characteristics: mean blood lactate dehydrogenase level of 1127 mg/dl; median APACHEII score of 5.5 and mean IMRIE score of 3.5. For proteomic analysis, less-abundant proteins in plasma samples were enriched using Top 12 abundant protein depletion columns. Further processing was performed by a modified filter-assisted sample preparation combined with tandem mass tag labeling for quantitation. Samples were analyzed using an Orbitrap Elite mass spectrometer for high resolution liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Our analysis revealed 31 proteins that exhibited significant 1.5-fold or higher increases in the AP compared to control patients, and six that were significantly decreased. Gene ontology analysis indicated a strong correlation with exosomal origin in the elevated proteins, with 29/31 (93.5%) associated with this extracellularly-secreted compartment. Elevated proteins included established and proposed biomarkers of AP including C-reactive protein, LPS-binding protein, intercellular adhesion molecule-1, and von Willebrand factor, as well as several novel potential biomarkers. These results provide the methodology for proteomic analysis of plasma samples to discover novel biomarkers that characterize pancreatitis cases by pathogenic mechanism as well as disease activity at an early stage that is highly informative for routine clinical practice and clinical trials.

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