A proteome signature for intrauterine growth restriction derived from multifactorial analysis of mass spectrometry-based cord blood serum profiling

Electrophoresis. 2012 Jul;33(12):1881-93. doi: 10.1002/elps.201200001.


Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is defined as a condition in which the fetus does not reach its genetically given growth potential, resulting in low birth weight. IUGR is an important cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality, thus contributing substantially to medically indicated preterm birth in order to prevent fetal death. We subjected umbilical cord blood serum samples either belonging to the IUGR group (n = 15) or to the control group (n = 15) to fractionation by affinity chromatography using a bead system with hydrophobic interaction capabilities. So prepared protein mixtures were analyzed by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometric profiling. The six best differentiating ion signals at m/z 8205, m/z 8766, m/z 13 945, m/z 15 129, m/z 15 308, and m/z 16 001 were collectively assigned as IUGR proteome signature. Separation confidence of our IUGR proteome signature reached a sensitivity of 0.87 and a specificity of 0.93. Assignment of ion signals in the mass spectra to specific proteins was substantiated by SDS-PAGE in conjunction with peptide mass fingerprint analysis of cord blood serum proteins. One constituent of this proteome signature, apolipoprotein C-III(0) , a derivative lacking glycosylation, has been found more abundant in the IUGR cord blood serum samples, irrespective of gestational age. Hence, we suggest apolipoprotein C-III(0) as potential key-marker of the here proposed IUGR proteome signature, as it is a very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) member and as such involved in triglyceride metabolism that itself is discussed as being of importance in IUGR pathogenesis. Our results indicate that subtle alterations in protein glycosylation need to be considered for improving our understanding of the pathomechanisms in IUGR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Proteins / analysis*
  • Blood Proteins / chemistry
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chromatography, Affinity
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Fetal Blood / chemistry*
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / blood*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Proteome / analysis*
  • Proteome / chemistry
  • Proteomics
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods*


  • Blood Proteins
  • Proteome