Development of robust targeted proteomics assays for cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers in multiple sclerosis
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionClinical Proteomics. 2020, 17:33 10.1186/s12014-020-09296-5
Background: Verification of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers for multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases is a major challenge due to a large number of candidates, limited sample material availability, disease and biological heterogeneity, and the lack of standardized assays. Furthermore, verification studies are often based on a low number of proteins from a single discovery experiment in medium-sized cohorts, where antibodies and surrogate peptides may differ, thus only providing an indication of proteins affected by the disease and not revealing the bigger picture or concluding on the validity of the markers. We here present a standard approach for locating promising biomarker candidates based on existing knowledge, resulting in high-quality assays covering the main biological processes affected by multiple sclerosis for comparable measurements over time. Methods: Biomarker candidates were located in CSF-PR (proteomics.uib.no/csf-pr), and further filtered based on estimated concentration in CSF and biological function. Peptide surrogates for internal standards were selected according to relevant criteria, parallel reaction monitoring (PRM) assays created, and extensive assay quality testing performed, i.e. intra- and inter-day variation, trypsin digestion status over time, and whether the peptides were able to separate multiple sclerosis patients and controls. Results: Assays were developed for 25 proteins, represented by 72 peptides selected according to relevant guidelines and available literature and tested for assay peptide suitability. Stability testing revealed 64 peptides with low intra- and inter-day variations, with 44 also being stably digested after 16 h of trypsin digestion, and 37 furthermore showing a significant difference between multiple sclerosis and controls, thereby confirming literature findings. Calibration curves and the linear area of measurement have, so far, been determined for 17 of these peptides. Conclusions: We present 37 high-quality PRM assays across 21 CSF-proteins found to be affected by multiple sclerosis, along with a recommended workflow for future development of new assays. The assays can directly be used by others, thus enabling better comparison between studies. Finally, the assays can robustly and stably monitor biological processes in multiple sclerosis patients over time, thus potentially aiding in diagnosis and prognosis, and ultimately in treatment decisions.