Serum proteomic profiling in patients with drug-induced liver injury

L. N. Bell, R. Vuppalanchi, P. B. Watkins, H. L. Bonkovsky, J. Serrano, R. J. Fontana, M. Wang, J. Rochon, N. Chalasani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Background Idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury (DILI) is a complex disorder that is difficult to predict, diagnose and treat. Aim To describe the global serum proteome of patients with DILI and controls. Methods A label-free, mass spectrometry-based quantitative proteomic approach was used to explore protein expression in serum samples from 74 DILI patients (collected within 14 days of DILI onset) and 40 controls. A longitudinal analysis was conducted in a subset of 21 DILI patients with available 6-month follow-up serum samples. Results Comparison of DILI patients based on pattern, severity and causality assessment of liver injury revealed many differentially expressed priority 1 proteins among groups. Expression of fumarylacetoacetase was correlated with alanine aminotransferase (ALT; r = 0.237; P = 0.047), aspartate aminotransferase (AST; r = 0.389; P = 0.001) and alkaline phosphatase (r = -0.240; P = 0.043), and this was the only protein with significant differential expression when comparing patients with hepatocellular vs. cholestatic or mixed injury. In the longitudinal analysis, expression of 53 priority 1 proteins changed significantly from onset of DILI to 6-month follow-up, and nearly all proteins returned to expression levels comparable to control subjects. Ninety-two serum priority 1 proteins with significant differential expression were identified when comparing the DILI and control groups. Pattern analysis revealed proteins that are components of inflammation, immune system activation and several hepatotoxicity-specific pathways. Apolipoprotein E expression had the greatest power to differentiate DILI patients from controls (89% correct classification; AUROC = 0.97). Conclusion This proteomic analysis identified differentially expressed proteins that are components of pathways previously implicated in the pathogenesis of idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)600-612
Number of pages13
JournalAlimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes

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