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J Proteomics. 2017 May 8;160:84-105. doi: 10.1016/j.jprot.2017.03.007. Epub 2017 Mar 14.

Functional proteomic analysis of corticosteroid pharmacodynamics in rat liver: Relationship to hepatic stress, signaling, energy regulation, and drug metabolism.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo, NY, United States.
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo, NY, United States; Department of Biological Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, United States.
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo, NY, United States. Electronic address:


Corticosteroids (CS) are anti-inflammatory agents that cause extensive pharmacogenomic and proteomic changes in multiple tissues. An understanding of the proteome-wide effects of CS in liver and its relationships to altered hepatic and systemic physiology remains incomplete. Here, we report the application of a functional pharmacoproteomic approach to gain integrated insight into the complex nature of CS responses in liver in vivo. An in-depth functional analysis was performed using rich pharmacodynamic (temporal-based) proteomic data measured over 66h in rat liver following a single dose of methylprednisolone (MPL). Data mining identified 451 differentially regulated proteins. These proteins were analyzed on the basis of temporal regulation, cellular localization, and literature-mined functional information. Of the 451 proteins, 378 were clustered into six functional groups based on major clinically-relevant effects of CS in liver. MPL-responsive proteins were highly localized in the mitochondria (20%) and cytosol (24%). Interestingly, several proteins were related to hepatic stress and signaling processes, which appear to be involved in secondary signaling cascades and in protecting the liver from CS-induced oxidative damage. Consistent with known adverse metabolic effects of CS, several rate-controlling enzymes involved in amino acid metabolism, gluconeogenesis, and fatty-acid metabolism were altered by MPL. In addition, proteins involved in the metabolism of endogenous compounds, xenobiotics, and therapeutic drugs including cytochrome P450 and Phase-II enzymes were differentially regulated. Proteins related to the inflammatory acute-phase response were up-regulated in response to MPL. Functionally-similar proteins showed large diversity in their temporal profiles, indicating complex mechanisms of regulation by CS.


Clinical use of corticosteroid (CS) therapy is frequent and chronic. However, current knowledge on the proteome-level effects of CS in liver and other tissues is sparse. While transcriptomic regulation following methylprednisolone (MPL) dosing has been temporally examined in rat liver, proteomic assessments are needed to better characterize the tissue-specific functional aspects of MPL actions. This study describes a functional pharmacoproteomic analysis of dynamic changes in MPL-regulated proteins in liver and provides biological insight into how steroid-induced perturbations on a molecular level may relate to both adverse and therapeutic responses presented clinically.


Functional proteomics; Liver; Methylprednisolone; Pharmacodynamics; Pharmacoproteomics

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