Development of a Pharmaceutical Hepatotoxicity Biomarker Panel Using a Discovery to Targeted Proteomics Approach

Ben C. Collins, Christine A. Miller, Alexandra Sposny, Phillip Hewitt, Martin Wells, William M. Gallagher, Stephen R. Pennington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
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There is a pressing and continued need for improved predictive power in preclinical pharmaceutical toxicology assessment as substantial numbers of drugs are still removed from the market, or from late-stage development, because of unanticipated issues of toxicity. In recent years a number of consortia have been formed with a view to integrating -omics molecular profiling strategies to increase the sensitivity and predictive power of preclinical toxicology evaluation. In this study we report on the LC-MS based proteomic analysis of the effects of the hepatotoxic compound EMD 335823 on liver from rats using an integrated discovery to targeted proteomics approach. This compound was one of a larger panel studied by a variety of molecular profiling techniques as part of the InnoMed PredTox Consortium. Label-free LC-MS analysis of hepatotoxicant EMD 335823 treated animals revealed only moderate correlation of individual protein expression with changes in mRNA expression observed by transcriptomic analysis of the same liver samples. Significantly however, analysis of the protein and transcript changes at the pathway level revealed they were in good agreement. This higher level analysis was also consistent with the previously suspected PPARα activity of the compound. Subsequently, a panel of potential biomarkers of liver toxicity was assembled from the label-free LC-MS proteomics discovery data, the previously acquired transcriptomics data and selected candidates identified from the literature. We developed and then deployed optimized selected reaction monitoring assays to undertake multiplexed measurement of 48 putative toxicity biomarkers in liver tissue. The development of the selected reaction monitoring assays was facilitated by the construction of a peptide MS/MS spectral library from pooled control and treated rat liver lysate using peptide fractionation by strong cation exchange and off-gel electrophoresis coupled to LC-MS/MS. After iterative optimization and quality control of the selected reaction monitoring assay panel, quantitative measurements of 48 putative biomarkers in the liver of EMD 335823 treated rats were carried out and this revealed that the panel is highly enriched for proteins modulated significantly on drug treatment/hepatotoxic insult. This proof-of-principle study provides a roadmap for future large scale pre-clinical toxicology biomarker verification studies whereby putative toxicity biomarkers assembled from multiple disparate sources can be evaluated at medium-high throughput by targeted MS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-410
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular and Cellular Proteomics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2012


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