Purpose: To compare the basic proteomic composition of aqueous humour (AH) from patients with corneal rejection (patients) with AH from patients with cataract (controls).
Methods: Aqueous humour was analysed for total protein concentration using Bradford's method and for protein composition using two-dimensional (2D) gel electrophoresis. Image analysis was used to detect protein spots in 2D gels that were increased by more than factor 2 in patients as compared with controls. Increased spots were identified by immunoblotting and mass spectrometry.
Results: Aqueous humour from patients contained significantly higher total protein concentration than did AH from controls. A total of 31 spots were significantly increased in 2D gels from patients. The spots were derived from albumin, α1-antitrypsin, apolipoprotein J, cytokeratin type II, serin proteinase inhibitor and transthyretin. After correction of spot volumes by total protein concentrations, 10 spots derived from albumin, cytokeratin type II and α1-antitrypsin remained significantly increased.
Conclusion: The proteomic composition of AH differed significantly between patients and controls. The identified proteins suggest that the changes in AH are due to at least three different mechanisms: breakdown of the aqueous–blood barrier, enzymatic degradation, and liberation of locally synthesized proteins.