Use of proteomic methods to identify serum biomarkers associated with rat liver toxicity or hypertrophy

David E. Amacher, Rick Adler, Athula Herath, R. Reid Townsend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Background: Our objectives were to identify serum marker proteins in rats that might serve as sensitive indicators of hepatomegaly, hepatocellular necrosis, or hepatobiliary injury and to use them to analyze data from a collaborative proteomics project. Methods: In each of 4 studies comprising the collaborative project, rats were given 1 of 4 compounds that target the liver through different mechanisms. Sera and liver samples were collected by terminal bleeds at 1 of 3 postdose time points. Sera were depleted of major secretory proteins and then separated into protein features by 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2DGE). Liver specimens were also processed and subjected to 2DGE. Protein spots that significantly increased or decreased in quantity after drug treatment were recovered, digested, analyzed by mass spectroscopy, and compared with available databases for identification. Criteria for further consideration were (a) temporal expression (i.e., increase or decrease at early, fulminant, or recovery periods), (b) known biological function, (c) probable hepatic origin, and (d) any previous association with toxicity in published studies. Markers that changed significantly at the early time point were important because of their potential sensitivity for signaling minimal damage. Results: Vitamin D-binding protein, paraoxonase, cellular retinol-binding protein, malate dehydrogenase, F-protein, and purine nucleoside phosphorylase were identified as empirically confirmed serum markers for hepatic effects in drug-treated rats. Conclusion: Proteomics can be applied for the identification and confirmation of peripheral biomarkers for altered liver function after toxicant exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1796-1803
Number of pages8
JournalClinical chemistry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2005


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