Introduction: Although systemic autoimmune diseases (SAID) share many clinical and laboratory features, whether they also share some common features of pathogenesis remains unclear. We assessed plasma proteomic profiles among different SAID for evidence of common molecular pathways that could provide insights into pathogenic mechanisms shared by these diseases.
Methods: Differential quantitative proteomic analyses (one-dimensional reverse-phase liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry) were performed to assess patterns of plasma protein expression. Monozygotic twins (four pairs discordant for systemic lupus erythematosus, four pairs discordant for juvenile idiopathic arthritis and two pairs discordant for juvenile dermatomyositis) were studied to minimize polymorphic gene effects. Comparisons were also made to 10 unrelated, matched controls.
Results: Multiple plasma proteins, including acute phase reactants, structural proteins, immune response proteins, coagulation and transcriptional factors, were differentially expressed similarly among the different SAID studied. Multivariate Random Forest modeling identified seven proteins whose combined altered expression levels effectively segregated affected vs. unaffected twins. Among these seven proteins, four were also identified in univariate analyses of proteomic data (syntaxin 17, α-glucosidase, paraoxonase 1, and the sixth component of complement). Molecular pathway modeling indicated that these factors may be integrated through interactions with a candidate plasma biomarker, PON1 and the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6.
Conclusions: Together, these data suggest that different SAID may share common alterations of plasma protein expression and molecular pathways. An understanding of the mechanisms leading to the altered plasma proteomes common among these SAID may provide useful insights into their pathogeneses.