Background: Nasal mucus is the first-line defense barrier against (aero-) allergens. However, its proteome and function have not been clearly investigated.
Objective: The role of nasal mucus in the pathophysiology of allergic rhinitis was investigated by analyzing its proteome in patients with allergic rhinitis (n = 29) and healthy control subjects (n = 29).
Methods: Nasal mucus was collected with a suction device, tryptically digested, and analyzed by using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Proteins were identified by searching the SwissProt database and annotated by collecting gene ontology data from databases and existing literature. Gene enrichment analysis was performed by using Cytoscape/BINGO software tools. Proteins were quantified with spectral counting, and selected proteins were confirmed by means of Western blotting.
Results: In total, 267 proteins were identified, with 20 (7.5%) found exclusively in patients with allergic rhinitis and 25 (9.5%) found exclusively in healthy control subjects. Five proteins were found to be significantly upregulated in patients with allergic rhinitis (apolipoprotein A-2 [APOA2], 9.7-fold; α2-macroglobulin [A2M], 4.5-fold; apolipoprotein A-1 [APOA1], 3.2-fold; α1-antitrypsin [SERPINA1], 2.5-fold; and complement C3 [C3], 2.3-fold) and 5 were found to be downregulated (antileukoproteinase [SLPI], 0.6-fold; WAP 4-disulfide core domain protein [WFDC2], 0.5-fold; haptoglobin [HP], 0.7-fold; IgJ chain [IGJ], 0.7-fold; and Ig hc V-III region BRO, 0.8-fold) compared with levels seen in healthy control subjects.
Conclusion: The allergic rhinitis mucus proteome shows an enhanced immune response in which apolipoproteins might play an important role. Furthermore, an imbalance between cysteine proteases and antiproteases could be seen, which negatively affects epithelial integrity on exposure to pollen protease activity. This reflects the important role of mucus as the first-line defense barrier against allergens.
Keywords: Nasal mucus; allergic rhinitis; mass spectrometry; proteome; proteomics.
Copyright © 2013 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.