Objective To identify a novel serum biomarker of disease activity in inflammatory autoimmune disorders.
Methods Sera obtained from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients before and after anti-TNF therapy were analysed by iTRAQ (isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation) quantitative proteomic analysis and further validated by ELISA.
Results Of 326 proteins identified by proteomic analysis, increased serum levels of leucine-rich α-2 glycoprotein (LRG) was identified in RA patients before therapy. Serum LRG concentrations were significantly elevated in RA patients compared with healthy controls and decreased after anti-TNF therapy. Furthermore, serum LRG concentrations correlated with disease activity in RA and Crohn's disease (CD). Interestingly, in a subpopulation of patients with active CD and normal C-reactive protein levels, serum LRG concentrations were elevated.
Conclusions LRG represents a novel serum biomarker for monitoring disease activity during therapy in autoimmune patients, particularly useful in patients with active disease but normal CRP levels.
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Funding This study was supported by a grant-in-aid for challenging exploratory research (21659246) and by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan.
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Osaka University and National Institute of Biomedical Innovation.
Patient consent Obtained.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.