Combined Proteomic Analysis of Liver Tissue and Serum in Chronically Alcohol-Fed Rats


Reprint requests: Fumio Nomura, MD, PhD, Department of Molecular Diagnosis and Division of Clinical Genetics and Proteomics, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University and Chiba University Hospital, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba City, Chiba 260-8670, Japan; Tel./Fax: +81-43-226-2324; E-mail:



Proteomic approaches may provide new insights into pathological conditions associated with alcoholism. The aim of this study was to conduct a proteomic analysis of liver tissue and serum in chronically alcohol-fed rats using agarose 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE) and 3-step serum proteome analysis.


A total of 12 rats were pair-fed nutritionally adequate liquid diet containing ethanol as 36% of the total energy or an isocaloric control diet for 2 months. Rat liver homogenates and cytosol fractions were subjected to agarose 2-DE. Serum samples were subjected to 3-step serum proteome analysis involving immunodepletion of abundant proteins followed by fractionation using reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography and 1-dimensional sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). Candidate proteins were digested with trypsin and identified using mass spectrometry. Observed differences in protein expression levels were confirmed using Western blotting.


A total of 46 protein spots were found to be differentially expressed in the liver homogenates and cytosol fractions of alcohol-fed rats relative to pair-fed controls. The most notable change was down-regulation of a 29-kDa protein, which was subsequently identified as carbonic anhydrase III (CA III). Down-regulation of this protein in alcohol-fed rats was confirmed by Western blotting. The messenger RNA level of CA III was decreased as well. In rat serum, a total of 41 proteins were differentially expressed. Of these proteins, only betaine–homocysteine methyltransferase (BHMT) was also found to be differentially expressed in the liver.


A combined proteomic analysis of liver tissue and serum in chronically alcohol-fed rats revealed that the expression of CA III is significantly down-regulated in the liver of alcohol-fed rats. Our results also showed that BHMT expression is up-regulated in both the liver and serum of alcohol-fed rats.