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J Proteome Res. 2013 May 3;12(5):2194-205. doi: 10.1021/pr400066g. Epub 2013 Apr 24.

Proteomic analysis of human bronchoalveolar lavage fluid after subsgemental exposure.

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Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


The analysis of airway fluid, as sampled by bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), provides a minimally invasive route to interrogate lung biology in health and disease. Here, we used immunodepletion, coupled with gel- and label-free LC-MS/MS, for quantitation of the BAL fluid (BALF) proteome in samples recovered from human subjects following bronchoscopic instillation of saline, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or house dust mite antigen into three distinct lung subsegments. Among more than 200 unique proteins quantified across nine samples, neutrophil granule-derived and acute phase proteins were most highly enriched in the LPS-exposed lobes. Of these, peptidoglycan response protein 1 was validated and confirmed as a novel marker of neutrophilic inflammation. Compared to a prior transcriptomic analysis of airway cells in this same cohort, the BALF proteome revealed a novel set of response factors. Independent of exposure, the enrichment of tracheal-expressed proteins in right lower lung lobes suggests a potential for constitutive intralobar variability in the BALF proteome; sampling of multiple lung subsegments also appears to aid in the identification of protein signatures that differentiate individuals at baseline. Collectively, this proof-of-concept study validates a robust workflow for BALF proteomics and demonstrates the complementary nature of proteomic and genomic techniques for investigating airway (patho)physiology.

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