Identification of novel and downregulated biomarkers for alcoholism by surface enhanced laser desorption/ionization-mass spectrometry



Since personal and verbal reporting of alcohol use is not necessarily accurate, objective markers to assess alcohol consumption are required. The currently available markers, however, are limited in sensitivity and specificity for screening of excessive alcohol drinkers. Therefore, searches for novel markers are warranted. Recently, surface enhanced laser desorption/ionization-time of flight-mass spectrometry (SELDI-TOF-MS) has been successfully used to detect disease-associated proteins in complex biological specimens. We used the ProteinChip SELDI technology to generate comparative protein profiles of the consecutive serum samples obtained during abstinence from a total of 16 chronic alcoholic patients hospitalized for a rehabilitation program. We recognized two peaks (5.9 and 7.8 kDa), both of which had been downregulated on admission, the expression level of which significantly increased after a one-week abstinence. These changes were also seen in nonresponders of γ-glutamyltransferase. These two proteins were partially purified and subjected to amino acid sequencing. The 5.9 kDa protein was identified as a fragment of fibrinogen αE chain and the 7.8 kDa was a fragment of apoprotein A-II. These novel protein fragments may be promising biomarkers for excessive alcohol drinking.