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Trop Biomed. 2013 Jun;30(2):257-66.

Protein expression in sera of patients with amoebic liver abscess (ALA): potential use of haptoglobin as a surrogate disease marker.

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Institute for Research in Molecular Medicine, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Penang, Malaysia.


The protein profile of serum samples from patients with amoebic liver abscess (ALA) was compared to those of normal individuals to determine their expression levels and to identify potential surrogate disease markers. Serum samples were resolved by two dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) followed by image analysis. The up and down-regulated protein spots were excised from the gels and analysed by MS/MS. The concentration of three clusters of proteins i.e. haptoglobin (HP), α1-antitrypsin (AAT) and transferrin in serum samples of ALA patients and healthy controls were compared using competitive ELISA. In addition, serum concentrations of HP and transferrin in samples of patients with ALA and pyogenic liver abscess (PLA) were also compared. The results of the protein 2-DE expression analysis showed that HP cluster, AAT cluster, one spot each from unknown spots no. 1 and 2 were significantly up-regulated and transferrin cluster was significantly down-regulated in ALA patients' sera (p<0.05). The MS/MS analysis identified the unknown protein spot no.1 as human transcript and haptoglobin and spot no. 2 as albumin. Competitive ELISA which compared concentrations of selected proteins in sera of ALA and healthy controls verified the up-regulated expression (p<0.05) of HP and the down-regulated expression (p<0.01) of transferrin in the former, while there was no significant difference in AAT expression (p> 0.05). However, when ALA and PLA samples were compared, competitive ELISA showed significant increased concentration of HP (p<0.05) while transferrin levels were not different. In conclusion, this study showed that HP is a potential surrogate disease marker for ALA.

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