Calcium signaling-related proteins are associated with broncho-pulmonary dysplasia progression

Cinzia Magagnotti, Piero Giuseppe Matassa, Angela Bachi, Valentina Vendettuoli, Isabella Fermo, Maria Rosa Colnaghi, Rose Mary Carletti, Domenica Mercadante, Elena Fattore, Fabio Mosca, Annapaola Andolfo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Broncho-pulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is a chronic pulmonary disorder that follows premature birth. It is preceded by respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), characterized by acute respiratory failure due to deficiency of surfactant at birth. Clinical characteristics of infants affected by BPD have widely changed in the last decades: they are extraordinarly immature, with impaired alveolar and vascular lung development.To build up new therapeutic strategies for BPD babies, it is necessary to understand the pathogenic mechanisms, which are complicated by environmental risk factors and genetic predisposition. Therefore, the aim of this study was to highlight protein changes in the broncho-alveolar lavage fluid (BALF), thus providing an appropriate picture on what is happening in the locus of injury. We analyzed BALF samples from preterm babies, born at different stages of lung development.We confirmed that gestational age is relevant for BPD progression, but we also detected few de-regulated proteins in the younger babies; we discovered less abundant calcium signaling-related proteins, consistent with BPD severity, comparing severe to mild BPD babies with matched gestational age.In conclusion, this study suggests a subset of proteins to be investigated to better treat BPD babies and facilitate the definition of potential drug targets for novel therapies. Biological significance: Pulmonary biomarkers are needed to predict the clinical course of lung disease, status, progression and response to treatment. A key aspect in biomarker discovery is uncovering molecules that appear early during disease initiation, when the natural history of the disease can be modified. Using a proteomic-based approach we compared broncho-alveolar lavage fluid (BALF) protein profile from preterm neonates at different postmenstrual ages, to have a molecular description of broncho-pulmonary dysplasia (BPD) progression. BALF provided a snapshot of local molecular changes, which are relevant for early diagnosis, assessment and characterization of lung disorders. We showed that even if the studied patients had similar clinical phenotype (they all developed severe BPD and they were all cured in the same way in terms of mechanical ventilation, surfactant administration, antenatal steroid treatment and ibuprofen treatment for patent ductus arteriosus), however their BALF protein profiling displayed significant differences in a subset of proteins, which could be exploited to facilitate the development of novel effective therapies, distinct for age and severity of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-412
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Proteomics
Publication statusPublished - Dec 6 2013


  • Broncho-alveolar lavage fluid
  • Broncho-pulmonary dysplasia
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Preterm babies
  • Proteomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics


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