Diagnostic and prognostic values of PBMC proteins in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Silvia Luotti, Laura Pasetto, Luca Porcu, Valter Torri, Saioa R Elezgarai, Serena Pantalone, Melania Filareti, Massimo Corbo, Christian Lunetta, Gabriele Mora, Valentina Bonetto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal motor neuron disease for which there are no validated biomarkers. Previous exploratory studies have identified a panel of candidate protein biomarkers in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) that include peptidyl-prolyl cis-trans isomerase A (PPIA), heat shock cognate protein 71 kDa (HSC70), heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A2/B1 (hnRNPA2B1) and TDP-43. It has also been found that PPIA plays a key role in the assembly and dynamics of ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes and interacts with TDP-43. Its absence accelerates disease progression in a SOD1 mouse model of ALS, and low levels of PPIA in PBMCs are associated with early-onset ALS. However, the diagnostic and prognostic values of PPIA and the other candidate protein biomarkers have not been established. We analyzed the PBMC proteins in a well-characterized cohort of ALS patients (n=93), healthy individuals (n=104) and disease controls (n=111). We used a highly controlled sample processing procedure that implies two-step differential detergent fractionation. We found that the levels of the selected PBMC proteins in the soluble and insoluble fraction, combined, have a high discriminatory power for distinguishing ALS from controls, with PPIA, hnRNPA2B1 and TDP-43 being the proteins most closely associated with ALS. We also found a shift toward increased protein partitioning in the insoluble fraction in ALS and this correlated with a worse disease phenotype. In particular, low PPIA soluble levels were associated with six months earlier death. In conclusion, PPIA is a disease modifier with prognostic potential. PBMC proteins indicative of alterations in protein and RNA homeostasis are promising biomarkers of ALS, for diagnosis, prognosis and patient stratification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104815
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

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