Identification and validation of proteinase 3 and latent matrix-metalloproteinase 9 as potential biomarkers for chronic lung transplant rejection

Yan Zhang, Christine H. Wendt, Marshall I. Hertz, Gary L. Nelsestuen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Introduction: This study examined potential biomarkers for the diagnosis and early detection of chronic allograft rejection after lung transplantation. Methods: Protein ratios in pooled samples of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) from lung transplant recipients at different stages of pre- and postchronic rejection were determined by iTRAQ labeling and mass spectrometry. The potential biomarkers were validated using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) assay. Results: Two hundred sixty-five proteins were identified, about two thirds of which showed more than a twofold difference between a pooled control sample (individuals who did not develop chronic rejection in 100 months) and a pooled sample from those with chronic rejection. Proteinase 3 (PR-3) and matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) were validated by ELISA assay of 124 individual samples. PR-3 and the latent form of MMP-9 (proMMP9) both demonstrated a specificity of 92% with sensitivities of 76% and 82%, respectively, for disease diagnosis; both were also predictors of developing chronic rejection up to 15 months before diagnosis. While immunoglobulin M (IgM) was upregulated in the pooled samples, individual sample analysis revealed that this arose from outlier values. Conclusions: iTRAQ can be used to detect a large number of proteins in pooled samples for the discovery of potential biomarkers, but the findings must be validated with technology capable of distinguishing broadly based changes from outcomes as a result of a few extreme cases. The proteins identified in this study expanded the panel of potential biomarkers for the diagnosis and prediction of chronic rejection and provided additional insight into the mechanism of the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-12
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Proteomics
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Bioinformatics
  • Biomarker discovery
  • Biomarker validation
  • Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF)
  • Chronic rejection
  • Lung transplant
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Proteomics


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