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Clin Chem. 2018 Feb;64(2):279-288. doi: 10.1373/clinchem.2017.272922. Epub 2017 Oct 20.

Protein Turnover Measurements in Human Serum by Serial Immunoaffinity LC-MS/MS.

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Biomedicine Design, Worldwide Research & Development, Pfizer, Inc., Andover, MA;
Clinical Pharmacology, Worldwide Research & Development, Pfizer, Inc., La Jolla, CA.
Biomedicine Design, Worldwide Research & Development, Pfizer, Inc., Andover, MA.



The half-life of target proteins is frequently an important parameter in mechanistic pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) modeling of biotherapeutics. Clinical studies for accurate measurement of physiologically relevant protein turnover can reduce the uncertainty in PK/PD model-based predictions, for example, of the therapeutic dose and dosing regimen in first-in-human clinical trials.


We used a targeted mass spectrometry work flow based on serial immunoaffinity enrichment ofmultiple human serum proteins from a [5,5,5-2H3]-L-leucine tracer pulse-chase study in healthy volunteers. To confirm the reproducibility of turnover measurements from serial immunoaffinity enrichment, multiple aliquots from the same sample set were subjected to protein turnover analysis in varying order. Tracer incorporation was measured by multiple-reaction-monitoring mass spectrometry and target turnover was calculated using a four-compartment pharmacokinetic model.


Five proteins of clinical or therapeutic relevance including soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 12A, tissue factor pathway inhibitor, soluble interleukin 1 receptor like 1, soluble mucosal addressin cell adhesion molecule 1, and muscle-specific creatine kinase were sequentially subjected to turnover analysis from the same human serum sample. Calculated half-lives ranged from 5-15 h; however, no tracer incorporation was observed for mucosal addressin cell adhesion molecule 1.


The utility of clinical pulse-chase studies to investigate protein turnover can be extended by serial immunoaffinity enrichment of target proteins. Turnover analysis from serum and subsequently from remaining supernatants provided analytical sensitivity and reproducibility for multiple human target proteins in the same sample set, irrespective of the order of analysis.

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