Serum proteomic analysis identifies sex-specific differences in lipid metabolism and inflammation profiles in adults diagnosed with Asperger syndrome

Hannah Steeb, Jordan M. Ramsey, Paul C. Guest, Pawel Stocki, Jason D. Cooper, Hassan Rahmoune, Erin Ingudomnukul, Bonnie Auyeung, Liliana Ruta, Simon Baron-Cohen, Sabine Bahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: The higher prevalence of Asperger Syndrome (AS) and other autism spectrum conditions in males has been known for many years. However, recent multiplex immunoassay profiling studies have shown that males and females with AS have distinct proteomic changes in serum. Methods. Here, we analysed sera from adults diagnosed with AS (males = 14, females = 16) and controls (males = 13, females = 16) not on medication at the time of sample collection, using a combination of multiplex immunoassay and shotgun label-free liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS§ssup§E§esup§). The main objective was to identify sex-specific serum protein changes associated with AS. Results: Multiplex immunoassay profiling led to identification of 16 proteins that were significantly altered in AS individuals in a sex-specific manner. Three of these proteins were altered in females (ADIPO, IgA, APOA1), seven were changed in males (BMP6, CTGF, ICAM1, IL-12p70, IL-16, TF, TNF-alpha) and six were changed in both sexes but in opposite directions (CHGA, EPO, IL-3, TENA, PAP, SHBG). Shotgun LC-MS§ssup§E§esup§ profiling led to identification of 13 serum proteins which had significant sex-specific changes in the AS group and, of these, 12 were altered in females (APOC2, APOE, ARMC3, CLC4K, FETUB, GLCE, MRRP1, PTPA, RN149, TLE1, TRIPB, ZC3HE) and one protein was altered in males (RGPD4). The free androgen index in females with AS showed an increased ratio of 1.63 compared to controls. Conclusion: Taken together, the serum multiplex immunoassay and shotgun LC- MS§ssup§E§esup§ profiling results indicate that adult females with AS had alterations in proteins involved mostly in lipid transport and metabolism pathways, while adult males with AS showed changes predominantly in inflammation signalling. These results provide further evidence that the search for biomarkers or novel drug targets in AS may require stratification into male and female subgroups, and could lead to the development of novel targeted treatment approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalMolecular Autism
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 27 2014

Keywords

  • Asperger Syndrome
  • Biomarkers
  • Growth
  • Inflammation
  • Lipid transport
  • Proteomics
  • Sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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    Steeb, H., Ramsey, J. M., Guest, P. C., Stocki, P., Cooper, J. D., Rahmoune, H., Ingudomnukul, E., Auyeung, B., Ruta, L., Baron-Cohen, S., & Bahn, S. (2014). Serum proteomic analysis identifies sex-specific differences in lipid metabolism and inflammation profiles in adults diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. Molecular Autism, 5(1), [4]. https://doi.org/10.1186/2040-2392-5-4