Quantitative Age-specific Variability of Plasma Proteins in Healthy Neonates, Children and Adults

Mol Cell Proteomics. 2017 May;16(5):924-935. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M116.066720. Epub 2017 Mar 23.


Human blood plasma is a complex biological fluid containing soluble proteins, sugars, hormones, electrolytes, and dissolved gasses. As plasma interacts with a wide array of bodily systems, changes in protein expression, or the presence or absence of specific proteins are regularly used in the clinic as a molecular biomarker tool. A large body of literature exists detailing proteomic changes in pathologic contexts, however little research has been conducted on the quantitation of the plasma proteome in age-specific, healthy subjects, especially in pediatrics. In this study, we utilized SWATH-MS to identify and quantify proteins in the blood plasma of healthy neonates, infants under 1 year of age, children between 1-5 years, and adults. We identified more than 100 proteins that showed significant differential expression levels across these age groups, and we analyzed variation in protein expression across the age spectrum. The plasma proteomic profiles of neonates were strikingly dissimilar to the older children and adults. By extracting the SWATH data against a large human spectral library we increased protein identification more than 6-fold (940 proteins) and confirmed the concentrations of several of these using ELISA. The results of this study map the variation in expression of proteins and pathways often implicated in disease, and so have significant clinical implication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aging / blood*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Proteome / metabolism
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Signal Transduction


  • Blood Proteins
  • Proteome