Protein Network Analysis Identifies Changes in the Level of Proteins Involved in Platelet Degranulation, Proteolysis and Cholesterol Metabolism Pathways in AECOPD Patients

Dino B. A. Tan, Jason Ito, Kirstein Peters, Andreja Livk, Richard J. Lipscombe, Tammy M. Casey, Yuben P. Moodley (2020). COPD: Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.



Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterised by a progressive pulmonary and systemic inflammation. Acute exacerbations of COPD (AECOPD) are associated with acute inflammation and infection, increase in the rates of morbidity and mortality. Previous proteomic studies have focussed on identifying proteins involved in COPD pathogenesis in samples collected from the lung (e.g. lung tissue biopsies, bronchoalveolar lavage and sputum) but not from blood of patients who experienced AECOPD. In this study, plasma was analysed by two independent quantitative proteomics techniques; isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ) and multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) to identify differential expression of circulating proteins in patients with stable COPD (sCOPD) and AECOPD. Firstly, iTRAQ performed on pooled plasma samples from AECOPD, sCOPD, and healthy non-smoking controls (HC) revealed 15 differentially expressed proteins between the 3 groups. MRM subsequently performed on a separate cohort of AECOPD, sCOPD, and HC patients confirmed 9 proteins to be differentially expressed by AECOPD compared to HC (Afamin, alpha-1-antichymotrypsin, Apolipoprotein E, Beta-2-glycoprotein 1, Complement component C9, Fibronectin, Immunoglobulin lambda like polypeptide 5, Inter-alpha-trypsin inhibitor heavy chain H3, Leucine rich alpha-2-glycoprotein 1). Network analysis demonstrates that most of these proteins are involved in proteolysis regulation, platelet degranulation and cholesterol metabolism. In conclusion, several potential plasma biomarkers for AECOPD were identified in this study. Further validation studies of these proteins may elucidate their roles in the development of AECOPD.



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