Serum proteomic profiles in subjects with heavy alcohol abuse

Suthat Liangpunsakul, Xianyin Lai, Heather N. Ringham, David W. Crabb, Frank A. Witzmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: The abuse of alcohol is a major public health problem, and the diagnosis and care of patients with alcohol abuse and dependence is hindered by the lack of tests that can detect dangerous levels of drinking or relapse during therapy. Gastroenterologists and other healthcare providers find it very challenging to obtain an accurate alcohol drinking history. We hypothesized that the effects of ethanol on numerous systems may well be reflected in changes in quantity or qualities of constituent or novel plasma proteins or protein fragments. Organ/tissue-specific proteins may be released into the blood stream when cells are injured by alcohol, or when systemic changes are induced by alcohol, and such proteins would be detected using a proteomic approach. The objective of this pilot study was to determine if there are plasma proteome profiles that correlate with heavy alcohol use. Methods: Paired serum samples, before and after intensive alcohol treatment, were obtained from subjects who attended an outpatient alcohol treatment program. Serum proteomic profiles using MALDI -OTOF Mass Spectrometry were compared between pre- and post treatment samples. Results: Of 16 subjects who enrolled in the study, 8 were females. The mean age of the study subjects was 49 yrs. The baseline laboratory data showed elevated AST (54 ± 37 IU/L), ALT (37 ± 19 IU/L), and MCV (99 ± 5 fl). Selfreported pre-treatment drinking levels for these subjects averaged 17 ± 7drinks/day and 103 ± 37 drinks/week. Mass spectrometry analyses showed a novel 5. 9 kDa protein, a fragment of alpha fibrinogen, isoform 1, that might be might be a new novel marker for abusive alcohol drinking. Conclusions: We have shown in this pilot study that several potential protein markers have appeared in mass spectral profiles and that they may be useful clinically to determine the status of alcohol drinking by MALDI -OTOF mass spectrometry, especially a fragment of alpha fibrinogen, isoform 1. However, a large-scale study is needed to confirm and validate our current results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-243
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Proteomics and Bioinformatics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Cell Biology

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