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Open Access Research article

Identification of a novel biomarker candidate, a 4.8-kDa peptide fragment from a neurosecretory protein VGF precursor, by proteomic analysis of cerebrospinal fluid from children with acute encephalopathy using SELDI-TOF-MS

Takeshi Asano*, Shinya Koizumi, Atsushi Takagi, Takayuki Hatori, Kentaroh Kuwabara, Osamu Fujino and Yoshitaka Fukunaga

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics, Nippon Medical School, Chiba Hokusoh Hospital, 1715 Kamagari, Inzai City, Chiba 270-1694, Japan

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BMC Neurology 2011, 11:101  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-11-101

Published: 12 August 2011

Abstract

Background

Acute encephalopathy includes rapid deterioration and has a poor prognosis. Early intervention is essential to prevent progression of the disease and subsequent neurologic complications. However, in the acute period, true encephalopathy cannot easily be differentiated from febrile seizures, especially febrile seizures of the complex type. Thus, an early diagnostic marker has been sought in order to enable early intervention. The purpose of this study was to identify a novel marker candidate protein differentially expressed in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of children with encephalopathy using proteomic analysis.

Methods

For detection of biomarkers, CSF samples were obtained from 13 children with acute encephalopathy and 42 children with febrile seizure. Mass spectral data were generated by surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (SELDI-TOF MS) technology, which is currently applied in many fields of biological and medical sciences. Diagnosis was made by at least two pediatric neurologists based on the clinical findings and routine examinations. All specimens were collected for diagnostic tests and the remaining portion of the specimens were used for the SELDI-TOF MS investigations.

Results

In experiment 1, CSF from patients with febrile seizures (n = 28), patients with encephalopathy (n = 8) (including influenza encephalopathy (n = 3), encephalopathy due to rotavirus (n = 1), human herpes virus 6 (n = 1)) were used for the SELDI analysis. In experiment 2, SELDI analysis was performed on CSF from a second set of febrile seizure patients (n = 14) and encephalopathy patients (n = 5). We found that the peak with an m/z of 4810 contributed the most to the separation of the two groups. After purification and identification of the 4.8-kDa protein, a 4.8-kDa proteolytic peptide fragment from the neurosecretory protein VGF precursor (VGF4.8) was identified as a novel biomarker for encephalopathy.

Conclusions

Expression of VGF4.8 has been reported to be decreased in pathologically degenerative changes such as Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal dementia, and encephalopathy. Thus, the VGF4.8 peptide might be a novel marker for degenerative brain conditions.