The 7S domain of collagen type IV (P4NP_7S) assessed in plasma represents systemic collagen type IV formation. The objective of the study was to investigate the association of systemic collagen type IV formation with survival among patients undergoing hemodialysis.
We performed an observational cohort study of 371 hemodialysis patients. Plasma P4NP_7S was analyzed using a specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay detecting the amino-terminal propeptide of type IV procollagen. Association between categories of plasma P4NP_7S concentrations and survival was initially assessed by Kaplan-Meier analysis, then in an adjusted Cox model.
For hemodialysis patients in the highest category of systemic collagen type IV formation, i.e. plasma P4NP_7S concentrations more than 775 pg/L, an increased risk for death was observed (highest P4NP_7S category vs all other categories, hazard ratio, 1.934; 95% confidence interval, 1.139 to 3.285). Survival analysis showed an increased risk of death in the highest P4NP_7S category compared to the other categories (Chi square 6.903; P = 0.032). Median survival was only 105 days in the highest P4NP_7S category whereas it was 629 days in the medium category, and 905 days in the lowest category. Multivariable-adjusted Cox regression showed increased odds for death with higher age and higher P4NP_7S categories. Systemic collagen type IV formation was associated with plasma concentrations of the collagen IV degradation product C4M (Spearman r = 0.764; P<0.0001) confirming extracellular matrix turnover.
Among hemodialysis patients elevated systemic collagen type IV formation suggesting accelerating systemic fibrosis was associated with increased risk of death.
Background: Progression of liver fibrosis is characterized by synthesis and degradation of extracellular matrix (ECM). Matrix-metalloproteinases (MMP) cleave collagen fibers at a specific site and thereby generate soluble fragments of ECM (neo-epitopes). The levels of these neo-epitopes might reflect the stage of liver fibrosis and may allow monitoring of anti-fibrotic therapies. Here we analyzed these neo-epitopes as read-out for a liver directed therapy with statins.
Methods: Bile duct ligation (BDL) was performed on wild type rats, which received atorvastatin (15 mg/kg*d) for 1 week starting at 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 weeks after BDL (T1–T5), while controls remained untreated. Hepatic fibrosis was analyzed by immunohistochemistry and hepatic hydroxyproline content. TGFβ levels were measured by RT-PCR. Proteolytic activity of MMP-2 was examined by zymography. Levels of degradation MMP driven type I, III, IV and VI collagen degradation (C1M, C3M, C4M, and C6M) and type III and IV collagen formation (PRO-C3 and P4NP7S) markers were assessed by specific ELISAs in serum probes.
Results: Serum markers of ECM neo-epitopes reflected significantly the deposition of ECM in the liver and were able to distinguish between early (T1–T3) and severe fibrosis (T4–T5). Statin treatment resulted in reduction of neo-epitope markers, especially when therapy was started in the stage of severe fibrosis (T4–T5). Furthermore, these markers correlated with hepatic expression of profibrotic cytokines TGFβ1 and TGFβ2. Formation markers of type III and IV collagen (PRO-C3 and P4NP7S) and degradation markers C4M and C6M correlated significantly with hepatic MMP-2 activity in rats with severe fibrosis.
Conclusion: Determination of ECM remodeling turnover markers in serum allowed a distinction between mild and severe fibrosis. With respect to statin therapy, the markers may serve as read-out for efficacy of anti-fibrotic treatment.
fibrosis; statins; markers; antifibrotic; ECM (extracellular matrix); remodeling
Elastin is a signature protein of the arteries and lungs, thus it was hypothesized that elastin is subject to enzymatic degradation during cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. The aim was to investigate if different fragments of the same protein entail different information associated to two different diseases and if these fragments have the potential of being diagnostic biomarkers.
Monoclonal antibodies were raised against an identified fragment (the ELM-2 neoepitope) generated at the amino acid position ‘552 in elastin by matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) −9/−12. A newly identified ELM neoepitope was generated by the same proteases but at amino acid position ‘441. The distribution of ELM-2 and ELM, in human arterial plaques and fibrotic lung tissues were investigated by immunohistochemistry. A competitive ELISA for ELM-2 was developed. The clinical relevance of the ELM and ELM-2 ELISAs was evaluated in patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI), no AMI, high coronary calcium, or low coronary calcium. The serological release of ELM-2 in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) was compared to controls.
ELM and ELM-2 neoepitopes were both localized in diseased carotid arteries and fibrotic lungs. In the cardiovascular cohort, ELM-2 levels were 66% higher in serum from AMI patients compared to patients with no AMI (p<0.01). Levels of ELM were not significantly increased in these patients and no correlation was observed between ELM-2 and ELM. ELM-2 was not elevated in the COPD and IPF patients and was not correlated to ELM. ELM was shown to be correlated with smoking habits (p<0.01).
The ELM-2 neoepitope was related to AMI whereas the ELM neoepitope was related to pulmonary diseases. These results indicate that elastin neoepitopes generated by the same proteases but at different amino acid sites provide different tissue-related information depending on the disease in question.
Abstract: Having previously shown that levels of the citrullinated vimentin peptide VICM are raised in liver fibrosis in rats, we aimed to investigate whether inhibition of citrullination as measured by VICM levels could affect fibrogenesis. Methods: Fibrogenesis was evaluated by quantitative histology and circulating levels of collagen type III in a carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) rat model of liver fibrosis for 6 weeks (n=40+10 untreated controls). The first treatment group (n=20) was treated exclusively with CCl4 for the duration of the study.The second treatment group (n=20) was additionally treated, for the same period, with N-a-benzoyl-N5-(2 Chloro-1-iminoethyl)-L-Ornithine amide, a known PAD inhibitor. Results: All 40 CCl4 treated animals showed a statistically significant increase in total collagen (p<0.0001) and C3M levels (p<0.001) compared with controls assessed by quantitative histology. Animals additionally treated with the PAD inhibitor showed a statistically significant increase when compared with controls for both total collagen (p<0.001) and C3M levels (p<0.0001) but no statistically difference when compared with animals treated only with CCl4. The mean systemic level of VICM in control animals was 115 ng/ml at 6 weeks. In CCl4-treated animals, mean systemic VICM levels increased 324% at week 6 (p<0.001). The mean level of the marker in CCl4-treated rats was not statistically significant from that in controls (P>0.05). In PAD-treated animals VICM levels were 51% (P<0.05) lower than in non-PAD CCl4-treated animals. Conclusion: The PAD inhibitor did not reduce fibrogenesis in this preclinical model. However circulating VICM marker levels were decreased in the presence of the PAD inhibitor.
Biomarker; citrulline; PAD inhibitor; VICM; vimentin; liver fibrosis; CCl4
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a devastating neurological disease characterized by pathological proteolytic cleavage of tau protein, which appears to initiate death of the neurons. The objective of this study was to investigate whether a proteolytic fragment of the tau protein could serve as blood-based biomarker of cognitive function in AD.
We developed a highly sensitive ELISA assay specifically detecting an A Disintegrin and Metalloproteinase 10 (ADAM10)-generated fragment of tau (Tau-A). We characterized the assay in detail with to respect specificity and reactivity in healthy human serum. We used samples from the Tg4510 tau transgenic mice, which over-express the tau mutant P301L and exhibit a tauopathy with similarities to that observed in AD. We used serum samples from 21 well-characterized Alzheimer's patients, and we correlated the Tau-A levels to cognitive function.
The Tau-A ELISA specifically detected the cleavage sequence at the N-terminus of a fragment of tau generated by ADAM10 with no cross-reactivity to intact tau or brain extracts. In brain extracts from Tg4510 mice compared to wt controls we found 10-fold higher levels of Tau-A (p<0.001), which indicates a pathological relevance of this marker. In serum from healthy individuals we found robust and reproducible levels of Tau-A, indicating that the analyte is present in serum. In serum from AD patients an inverse correlation (R2 = 0.46, p<0.001) between the cognitive assessment score (Mattis Dementia Rating Scale (MDRS)) and Tau-A levels was observed.
Based on the hypothesis that tau is cleaved proteolytically and then released into the blood, we here provide evidence for the presence of an ADAM10-generated tau fragment (Tau-A) in serum. In addition, the levels of Tau-A showed an inverse correlation to cognitive function, which could indicate that this marker is a serum marker with pathological relevance for AD.
The proteoglycan biglycan (BGN) is involved in collagen fibril assembly and its fragmentation is likely to be associated with collagen turnover during the pathogenesis of diseases which involve dysregulated extracellular matrix remodeling (ECMR), such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and liver fibrosis. The scope of the present study was to develop a novel enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the measurement of a MMP-9 and MMP-12-generated biglycan neo-epitope and to test its biological validity in a rat model of RA and in two rat models of liver fibrosis, chosen as models of ECMR.
Biglycan was cleaved in vitro by MMP-9 and -12 and the 344′YWEVQPATFR′353 peptide (BGM) was chosen as a potential neo-epitope. A technically sound competitive ELISA for the measurement of BGM was generated and the assay was validated in a bovine cartilage explant culture (BEX), in a collagen induced model of rheumatoid arthritis (CIA) and in two different rat models of liver fibrosis: the carbon tetrachloride (CCL4)-induced fibrosis model, and the bile duct ligation (BDL) model. Significant elevation in serum BGM was found in CIA rats compared to controls, in rats treated with CCL4 for 16 weeks and 20 weeks compared to the control groups as well as in all groups of rats subject to BDL compared with sham operated groups. Furthermore, there was a significant correlation of serum BGM levels with the extent of liver fibrosis determined by the Sirius red staining of liver sections in the CCL4 model.
We demonstrated that the specific tissue remodeling product of MMPs-degraded biglycan, namely the neo-epitope BGM, is correlated with pathological ECMR. This assay represents both a novel marker of ECM turnover and a potential new tool to elucidate biglycan role during the pathological processes associated with ECMR.
Biglycan; Biochemical markers; Extracellular matrix remodeling; Matrix-metalloproteinase; Neo-epitopes
Aim: The present study describes the assessment of true formation of type III collagen in different pathologies using a neo-epitope specific competitive Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) towards the N-terminal propeptide of type III collagen (PRO-C3). Methods: The monoclonal antibody was raised against the N-protease mediated cleavage site of the N-terminal propeptide of type III collagen and a competitive ELISA was developed using the selected antibody. The assay was evaluated in relation to neo-epitope specificity, technical performance, and as a marker for liver fibrosis and muscle mass using the rat carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) model and a study of immobilization induced muscle loss in humans, respectively. Results: The ELISA was neo-epitope specific, technically stable and can be assessed in serum and plasma samples. In the CCl4 liver fibrosis model it was observed that serum PRO-C3 were significantly elevated in rats with liver fibrosis as seen by histology (56% elevated in the highest quartile of total hepatic collagen compared to control rats, p<0.001) and correlated significantly to total hepatic collagen in the diseased rats (r=0.46, p<0.01) and not in control rats, suggesting the pathological origin of the epitope. Human plasma PRO-C3 correlated significantly to muscle mass at baseline (R2=0.44, p=0.036). Conclusion: The developed neo-epitope specific serum ELISA for type III procollagen (PRO-C3) reflects true formation as it is specific for the propeptide cleaved off the intact collagen molecule. In a clinical and in a rodent study we showed that this marker was highly related to liver fibrosis and muscle mass.
Biochemical markers; type III collagen; formation; neo-epitope; liver fibrosis; muscle mass
Extracellular matrix remodelling is a prerequisite for plaque rupture in atherosclerotic lesion. Versican, an extracellular matrix proteoglycan present in normal and atherosclerotic arteries is a substrate for matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) present in macrophage rich areas. The aim of the current study was to develop an immunoassay to detect a specific MMP-12 derived versican degradation fragment (VCANM) and assess its potential as a biomarker for extracellular matrix remodelling in atherosclerosis. A mouse monoclonal antibody raised against VCANM was used for the development of a competitive ELISA for detection of the fragment in plasma. VCANM was measured in plasma of patients with different levels of heart diseases. Patients experiencing I) acute coronary syndrome, II) stable ischemic heart disease and III) demonstrating high levels of coronary calcium deposits had significantly higher plasma levels of VCANM compared to a control group of individuals with no detectable coronary calcium deposits. VCANM was also detected by immunohistochemistry in coronary artery sections of patients with different degrees of atherosclerosis. VCANM ability to separate patients with atherosclerotic diseases from healthy individuals suggested VCANM as a potential biomarker for the pathological arterial matrix remodelling associated with atherosclerosis.
Versican; acute coronary syndrome; atherosclerosis; biomarker; matrix; remodeling; neo-epitope
The skeletal muscle mass is the largest organ in the healthy body, comprising 30–40 % of the body weight of an adult man. It confers protection from trauma, locomotion, ventilation, and it represents a “sink” in glucose metabolism and a reservoir of amino acids to other tissues such as the brain and blood cells. Naturally, loss of muscle has dire consequences for health as well as functionality. Muscle loss is a natural consequence of especially aging, inactivity, and their associated metabolic dysfunction, but it is strongly accelerated in critical illness such as organ failure, sepsis, or cancer. Whether this muscle loss is considered a primary or secondary condition, it is known that muscle loss is a symptom that predicts morbidity and mortality and one that is known to impact quality of life and independence. Therefore, monitoring of muscle mass is relevant in a number of pathologies as well as in clinical trials as measures of efficacy as well as safety.
Methods and results
Existing biomarkers of muscle mass or muscle loss have shown to be either too unreliable or too impractical in relation to the perceived clinical benefit to reach regular clinical research or use. We suggest serological neoepitope biomarkers as a possible technology to address some of these problems. Blood biomarkers of this kind have previously been shown to respond with high sensitivity and shorter time to minimum significant change than available biomarkers of muscle mass. We provide brief reviews of existing muscle mass or function biomarker technologies, muscle protein biology, and existing neoepitope biomarkers and proceed to present tentative recommendations on how to select and detect neoepitope biomarkers.
We suggest that serological peptide biomarkers whose tissue and pathology specificity are derived from post-translational modification of proteins in tissues of interest, presenting so-called neoepitopes, represents an exciting candidate technology to fill out an empty niche in biomarker technology.
Sarcopenia; Cachexia; Biomarker; Skeletal muscle; Neoepitope
Inflammation driven connective tissue turnover is key in rheumatic diseases, such as ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Few biomarkers are available for measuring disease prognosis or the efficacy of interventions applied in these tissue-related conditions. Type II collagen is the primary structural protein of cartilage and type III collagen of connective tissues, and obvious targets for the collagenalytic, which increase during tissue inflammation. The objective of the study was to investigate the diagnostic and prognostic utility of cartilage, C2M, and synovial, C3M, turnover biomarkers in AS. Serum samples were retrieved from patients suffering from AS (n = 103), RA (n = 47) and healthy controls (n = 56). AS progressors were defined as having new vertebral syndesmophytes or more that 3 unit change in mSASSS over a two-year period. Type II collagen degradation markers in serum were measured by the C2M ELISA, and type III collagen degradation by the C3M ELISA. Logistic regression and dichotomized decision tree were used to analyze the prognostic value of the markers individually or in combination. Both C2M and C3M levels were significantly higher in RA patients than in healthy controls (p<0.0001). Diagnostic utility was analyzed by ROC and areas under the curve (AUCs) were 72% and 89% for C2M and C3M, respectively. Both C2M and C3M, were significantly higher in serum samples from AS patient than from healthy controls (p<0.0001). The AUCs of C2M and C3M, respectively, were 70% and 81% for AS. A combination of C2M and C3M, dichotomized according to best cut-offs for individual markers, could correctly identify 80% of the progressors and 61% of the non-progressors. The present study is the first to show that specific biomarkers of cartilage and connective tissue degradation facilitate both diagnosis and prediction of progression of RA and AS.
The hallmark of a variety of fibrotic diseases such as liver fibrosis, lung fibrosis, skin fibrosis and atherosclerosis is extensive extracellular matrix remodeling (ECMr) of the disease affected tissue. Inflammation often leads to tissue disruption and destruction, upon which locally released battery of proteases such as matrix metalloproteinases and cysteine proteases degrade the surrounding matrix. The degradation products of ECM proteins, the co-called neoepitopes, are released into the systemic circulation. By recent development of Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assays (ELISAs) detecting the pathological tissue turnover in atherosclerosis and liver fibrosis, we have introduced a novel class of biomarkers into the field of fibrotic diseases, which have been proved efficient in the early diagnosis. This work has resulted in identification of common mechanisms involving specific cell types, proteins and proteases as well as pathways shared among the fibrotic diseases. In this analysis we seek to answer following questions: a) Are there common disease mechanisms and cell types involved in both atherosclerosis and fibrosis? b) Can the lessons learned in developing fibrosis biomarkers be used for the development of atherosclerosis biomarkers? Our hypothesis is that by answering the above questions, we may be able to improve general understanding of the early-stage disease initiation and progression of fibrotic diseases, which in turn may aid in early diagnosis, prognosis and ultimately patient management.
Atherosclerosis; fibrosis; extracellular matrix; collagens; proteoglycans; matrix metalloproteinases; neoepitopes; biomarkers
Accumulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) and increased matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity are hallmarks of liver fibrosis. The aim of the present study was to develop a model of liver fibrosis combining ex vivo tissue culture of livers from CCl4 treated animals with an ELISA detecting a fragment of type III collagen generated in vitro by MMP-9 (C3M), known to be associated with liver fibrosis and to investigate cAMP modulation of MMP activity and liver tissue turnover in this model.
In vivo: Rats were treated for 8 weeks with CCl4/Intralipid. Liver slices were cultured for 48 hours. Levels of C3M were determined in the supernatants of slices cultured without treatment, treated with GM6001 (positive control) or treated with IBMX (phosphodiesterase inhibitor). Enzymatic activity of MMP-2 and MMP-9 were studied by gelatin zymography. Ex vivo: The levels of serum C3M increased 77% in the CCl4-treated rats at week 8 (p < 0.01); Levels of C3M increased significantly by 100% in fibrotic liver slices compared to controls after 48 hrs (p < 0.01). By adding GM6001 or IBMX to the media, C3M was restored to control levels. Gelatin zymography demonstrated CCl4-treated animals had highly increased MMP-9, but not MMP-2 activity, compared to slices derived from control animals.
We have combined an ex vivo model of liver fibrosis with measurement of a biochemical marker of collagen degradation in the condition medium. This technology may be used to evaluate the molecular process leading to structural fibrotic changes, as collagen species are the predominant structural part of fibrosis. These data suggest that modulation of cAMP may play a role in regulation of collagen degradation associated with liver fibrosis.
Precision-cut liver slices; Fibrosis; Ex vivo; cAMP
Disease heterogeneity is as major issue in Type II Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM), and this patient inter-variability might not be sufficiently reflected by measurements of glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c).
Β-cell dysfunction and β-cell death are initiating factors in development of T2DM. In fact, β-cells are known vanish prior to the development of T2DM, and autopsy of overt T2DM patients have shown a 60% reduction in β-cell mass.
As the decline in β-cell function and mass have been proven to be pathological traits in T2DM, methods for evaluating β-cell loss is becoming of more interest. However, evaluation of β-cell death or loss is currently invasive and unattainable for the vast majority of diabetes patients. Serological markers, reflecting β-cell loss would be advantageous to detect and monitor progression of T2DM. Biomarkers with such capacities could be neo-epitopes of proteins with high β-cell specificity containing post translational modifications. Such tools may segregate T2DM patients into more appropriate treatment groups, based on their β-cell status, which is currently not possible. Presently individuals presenting with adequately elevated levels of both insulin and glucose are classified as T2DM patients, while an important subdivision of those is pending, namely those patients with sufficient β-cell capacity and those without. This may warrant two very different treatment options and patient care paths.
Serological biomarkers reflecting β-cell health status may also assist development of new drugs for T2DM and aid physicians in better characterization of individual patients and tailor individual treatments and patient care protocols.
Neo-epitope; Biomarkers; Type II diabetes mellitus; β-cell death; BIPED classification; Patient segregation; Personalized treatment
Aim: To investigate whether increased levels of vimentin citrullinated peptides identified by MS in articular cartilage can be measured in pathologies other than rheumatoid arthritis and be utilised for diagnostic purposes. Methods: A monoclonal antibody against the sequence RLRSSVPGV-citrulline (VICM) was developed and evaluated in a carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) (n=52 + 28 controls) rat model of liver fibrosis and two clinical cohorts of adult patients with hepatitis C (HCV) (n=92) and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) (n=62), and compared to healthy controls. Results: In CCl4-treated rats, mean systemic VICM levels increased 31% at week 12 (176 ng/mL, P<0.001), 41.7% at weeks 16 (190 ng/mL, P<0.001), 49.2% at weeks 20 (200 ng/ml, P<0.001), compared to controls (134 ng/mL). VICM levels correlated with total hepatic collagen determined by Sirius red staining of rat livers (r=0.75, P<0.05). In the HCV cohort, when stratified according to the METAVIR F score, VICM levels were 63% higher in F0 (632 ng/mL ±75, p<0.05), 54% in F1 (597 ng/mL ±41.3, p<0.05) and 62% in F2 (628 ng/mL ±59, p<0.05) all compared to controls. In the NAFLD cohort, VICM levels were 20.6% higher in F0 (339 ±12 ng/mL, P<0.05), 23.8% in F1 (348 ±12 ng/mL, P<0.05) and 28.8% in F2 (362 ±25 P<0.05). Conclusion: We demonstrated increased serological levels of citrullinated and MMP degraded vimentin in an animal model of liver fibrosis and in early fibrosis associated with HCV and NAFLD patients. These data suggest that citrullinated and MMP degraded proteins are also present in liver fibrosis.
Biomarker; citrulline; hepatitis C; NAFLD
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease affecting the extracellular matrix of especially synovial joints. The thickness of the synovial membrane increases and surrounding tissue degrades, leading to altered collagen balance in the tissues. In this study, we investigated the altered tissue balance of cartilage, synovial membrane, and connective tissue in collagen induced arthritis (CIA) in rats.
Six newly developed ELISAs quantifying MMP-derived collagen degradation (C1M, C2M, and C3M) and formation (P1NP, P2NP, and P3NP) was used to detect cartilage turnover in rats with CIA. Moreover, CTX-II was used to detect alternative type II collagen degradation and as control of the model. 10 Lewis rats were injected with porcrine type II collagen twice with a 7 day interval and 10 rats was injected with 0.05 M acetic acid as control. The experiment ran for 26 days.
A significant increase in the degradation of type I, II, and III collagen (C1M, C2M, and C3M, respectively) was detected on day 22 (P = 0.0068, P = 0.0068, P < 0.0001, respectively), whereas no significant difference in formation (P1NP, P2NP, and P3NP) was detected at any time point (P=0.22, P=0.53, P=0.53, respectively). The CTX-II level increased strongly from disease onset and onwards.
A nearly total separation between diseased and control animals was detected with C3M, making it a good diagnostic marker. The balance of type I, II, and III collagen was significantly altered with CIA in rats, with favour of degradation of the investigated collagens. This indicates unbalanced turnover of the surrounding tissues of the synovial joints, leading to increased pain and degeneration of the synovial joints.
Collagen balance; Rheumatoid arthritis; Matrix metalloproteinase; Synovial membrane; Cartilage; Connective tissue
In both chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), abnormally high collagen remodeling occurs within the lung tissue. Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-degraded type I, III, IV, V and VI collagen and a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS)-degraded type III collagen were assessed in serum of patients diagnosed with mild COPD (n = 10) or IPF (n = 30), and healthy controls (n = 15). The collagen degradation markers C1M, C3M, C5M and C6M were significantly elevated in serum of both mild COPD and IPF patients, versus controls. C3A and C4M were only elevated in patients with mild COPD, compared with controls. The most reliable indicators of mild COPD versus controls were: C1M (area under the receiver-operating characteristics (AUROC = 0.94, P < 0.0001), C3M (AUROC = 0.95, P < 0.0001), and C5M (AUROC = 0.95, P < 0.0001). The most reliable markers for the diagnosis of IPF were achieved by C1M (AUROC = 0.90, P < 0.0001) and C3M (AUROC = 0.93, P < 0.0001). Collagen degradation was highly up-regulated in patients with IPF and mild COPD, indicating that degradation fragments of collagens are potential markers of pulmonary diseases. Interestingly, C4M and C3A were only elevated in patients with mild COPD, indicating that these markers could be used to distinguish between the two pathologies.
collagen; extracellular matrix remodeling; biochemical marker; neoepitope; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; matrix metalloproteinases
Fibrosis is a hallmark histologic event of chronic liver diseases and is characterized by the excessive accumulation and reorganization of the extracellular matrix (ECM). The gold standard for assessment of fibrosis is liver biopsy. As this procedure has various limitations, including risk of patient injury and sampling error, a non-invasive serum marker for liver fibrosis is desirable. The increasing understanding of the pathogenesis of hepatic fibrosis has suggested several markers which could be useful indicators of hepatic fibrogenesis and fibrosis. These markers include serum markers of liver function, ECM synthesis, fibrolytic processes, ECM degradation and fibrogenesis related cytokines. Recently, neo-epitopes, which are post-translational modifications of proteins, have been successfully used in bone and cartilage diseases which are characterized by extensive ECM remodeling. Increasing numbers of studies are being undertaken to identify neo-epitopes generated during liver fibrosis, and which ultimately might be useful for diagnosing and monitoring fibrogenesis. To date, the metalloproteinases generated fragment of collagen I, III, IV and VI have been proven to be elevated in two rat models of fibrosis. This review summarizes the recent efforts that have been made to identify potentially reliable non-invasive serum markers. We used the recently proposed BIPED (Burden of disease, Investigative, Prognostic, Efficacy and Diagnostic) system to characterize potential serum markers and neo-epitope markers that have been identified to date.
serum marker; liver fibrosis; extracellular matrix; neo-epitope
Elastin is an essential component of selected connective tissues that provides a unique physiological elasticity. Elastin may be considered a signature protein of lungs where matrix metalloprotease (MMP) -9-and -12, may be considered the signature proteases of the macrophages, which in part are responsible for tissue damage during disease progression. Thus, we hypothesized that a MMP-9/-12 generated fragment of elastin may be a relevant biochemical maker for lung diseases.
Elastin fragments were identified by mass-spectrometry and one sequence, generated by MMP-9 and -12 (ELN-441), was selected for monoclonal antibody generation and used in the development of an ELISA. Soluble and insoluble elastin from lung was cleaved in vitro and the time-dependent release of fragments was assessed in the ELN-441 assay. The release of ELN-441 in human serum from patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (n = 10) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) (n = 29) were compared to healthy matched controls (n = 11).
The sequence ELN-441 was exclusively generated by MMP-9 and -12 and was time-dependently released from soluble lung elastin. ELN-441 levels were 287% higher in patients diagnosed with COPD (p < 0.001) and 124% higher in IPF patients (p < 0.0001) compared with controls. ELN-441 had better diagnostic value in COPD patients (AUC 97%, p = 0.001) than in IPF patients (AUC 90%, p = 0.0001). The odds ratios for differentiating controls from COPD or IPF were 24 [2.06–280] for COPD and 50 [2.64–934] for IPF.
MMP-9 and -12 time-dependently released the ELN-441 epitope from elastin. This fragment was elevated in serum from patients with the lung diseases IPF and COPD, however these data needs to be validated in larger clinical settings.
Elastin; Extracellular matrix remodeling; Biochemical marker; Neoepitope; COPD; IPF; MMP
Titin is a muscle-specific protein found in cardiac and skeletal muscles which is responsible for restoring passive tension. Levels and functioning of titin have been shown to be affected by cardiac damage. Due to the inherent difficulty of measuring titin levels in vivo in a clinical setting, we aimed to develop an assay that could reliably measure fragments of degraded titin in serum and potentially be used in the assessment of cardiac muscle damage.
A competitive ELISA was developed to specifically measure levels of the titin sequence 12670’ NVTVEARLIK 12679’, derived by the degradation of titin by matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-12. Serum samples from 90 individuals were divided into 3 equally sized groups. One group had been diagnosed with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) while the remaining two were asymptomatic individuals either with CT-scan signs of coronary calcium (CT-plusCa) or without coronary calcium (CT-noCa).
Mean geometric levels of the titin fragment in the CT-noCa group were 506.5 ng/ml (±43.88). The CT-plusCa group showed 50.6% higher levels of the marker [763 ng/ml (±90.14)] (P < 0.05). AMI patients showed 56.3% higher levels [792 ng/ml (±149)] (P < 0.05).
The titin-12670 fragment is present in both individuals with undiagnosed and diagnosed CVD. The statistically significant increase in level of the marker in the AMI group is indicative that this neoepitope biomarker may be a useful serological marker in AMI.
Titin; CVD; MMP-12; Cardiovascular; Acute myocardial infarction; Biomarker; Neoepitope
Salmon calcitonin has chondroprotective effect both in vitro and in vivo, and is therefore being tested as a candidate drug for cartilage degenerative diseases. Recent studies have indicated that different chondrocyte phenotypes may express the calcitonin receptor (CTR) differentially. We tested for the presence of the CTR in chondrocytes from tri-iodothyronin (T3)-induced bovine articular cartilage explants. Moreover, investigated the effects of human and salmon calcitonin on the explants.
Early chondrocyte hypertrophy was induced in bovine articular cartilage explants by stimulation over four days with 20 ng/mL T3. The degree of hypertrophy was investigated by molecular markers of hypertrophy (ALP, IHH, COLX and MMP13), by biochemical markers of cartilage turnover (C2M, P2NP and AGNxII) and histology. The expression of the CTR was detected by qPCR and immunohistochemistry. T3-induced explants were treated with salmon or human calcitonin. Calcitonin down-stream signaling was measured by levels of cAMP, and by the molecular markers.
Compared with untreated control explants, T3 induction increased expression of the hypertrophic markers (p<0.05), of cartilage turnover (p<0.05), and of CTR (p<0.01). Salmon, but not human, calcitonin induced cAMP release (p<0.001). Salmon calcitonin also inhibited expression of markers of hypertrophy and cartilage turnover (p<0.05).
T3 induced early hypertrophy of chondrocytes, which showed an elevated expression of the CTR and was thus a target for salmon calcitonin. Molecular marker levels indicated salmon, but not human, calcitonin protected the cartilage from hypertrophy. These results confirm that salmon calcitonin is able to modulate the CTR and thus have chondroprotective effects.
Abdominal aortic calcifications (AACs) correlate strongly with coronary artery calcifications and can be predictors of cardiovascular mortality. We investigated whether size, shape, and distribution of AACs are related to mortality and how such prognostic markers perform compared to the state-of-the-art AC24 marker introduced by Kauppila. Methods. For 308 postmenopausal women, we quantified the number of AAC and the percentage of the abdominal aorta that the lesions occupied in terms of their area, simulated plaque area, thickness, wall coverage, and length. We analysed inter-/intraobserver reproducibility and predictive ability of mortality after 8-9 years via Cox regression leading to hazard ratios (HRs). Results. The coefficient of variation was below 25% for all markers. The strongest individual predictors were the number of calcifications (HR = 2.4) and the simulated area percentage (HR = 2.96) of a calcified plaque, and, unlike AC24 (HR = 1.66), they allowed mortality prediction also after adjusting for traditional risk factors. In a combined Cox regression model, the strongest complementary predictors were the number of calcifications (HR = 2.76) and the area percentage (HR = −3.84). Conclusion. Morphometric markers of AAC quantified from radiographs may be a useful tool for screening and monitoring risk of CVD mortality.
The concept of the cardiovascular continuum, introduced during the early 1990s, created a holistic view of the chain of events connecting cardiovascular-related risk factors with the progressive development of pathological-related tissue remodelling and ultimately, heart failure and death. Understanding of the tissue-specific changes, and new technologies developed over the last 25–30 years, enabled tissue remodelling events to be monitored in vivo and cardiovascular disease to be diagnosed more reliably than before. The tangible product of this evolution was the introduction of a number of biochemical markers such as troponin I and T, which are now commonly used in clinics to measure myocardial damage. However, biomarkers that can detect specific earlier stages of the cardiovascular continuum have yet to be generated and utilised. The majority of the existing markers are useful only in the end stages of the disease where few successful intervention options exist. Since a large number of patients experience a transient underlying developing pathology long before the signs or symptoms of cardiovascular disease become apparent, the requirement for new markers that can describe the early tissue-specific, matrix remodelling process which ultimately leads to disease is evident. This review highlights the importance of relating cardiac biochemical markers with specific time points along the cardiovascular continuum, especially during the early transient phase of pathology progression where none of the existing markers aid diagnosis.
biomarkers; cardiovascular disease; extracellular matrix remodeling; ECMr; diagnostic markers; cardiovascular continuum; biomarker continuum; cardiac matrikine
Abdominal aortic calcifications (AAC) predict cardiovascular mortality. A new scoring model for AAC, the Morphological Atherosclerotic Calcification Distribution (MACD) index may contribute with additional information to the commonly used Aortic Calcification Severity (AC24) score, when predicting death from cardiovascular disease (CVD). In this study we investigated associations of MACD and AC24 with traditional metabolic-syndrome associated risk factors at baseline and after 8.3 years follow-up, to identify biological parameters that may account for the differential performance of these indices.
Three hundred and eight healthy women aged 48 to 76 years, were followed for 8.3 ± 0.3 years. AAC was quantified using lumbar radiographs. Baseline data included age, weight, blood pressure, blood lipids, and glucose levels. Pearson correlation coefficients were used to test for relationships.
At baseline and across all patients, MACD correlated with blood glucose (r2 = 0.1, P< 0.001) and to a lesser, but significant extent with traditional risk factors (p < 0.01) of CVD. In the longitudinal analysis of correlations between baseline biological parameters and the follow-up calcification assessment using radiographs we found LDL-cholesterol, HDL/LDL, and the ApoB/ApoA ratio significantly associated with the MACD (P< 0.01). In a subset of patients presenting with calcification at both baseline and at follow-up, all cholesterol levels were significantly associated with the MACD (P< 0.01) index. AC24 index was not correlated with blood parameters.
Patterns of calcification identified by the MACD, but not the AC24 index, appear to contain useful biological information perhaps explaining part of the improved identification of risk of cardiovascular death of the MACD index. Correlations of MACD but not the AC24 with glucose levels at baseline suggest that hyperglycemia may contribute to unique patterns of calcification indicated by the MACD.
Cardiovascular disease; aortic calcification; risk factors; AAC24
Osteopetrosis caused by defective acid secretion by the osteoclast, is characterized by defective bone resorption, increased osteoclast numbers, while bone formation is normal or increased. In contrast the bones are of poor quality, despite this uncoupling of formation from resorption.
To shed light on the effect of uncoupling in adult mice with respect to bone strength, we transplanted irradiated three-month old normal mice with hematopoietic stem cells from control or oc/oc mice, which have defective acid secretion, and followed them for 12 to 28 weeks.
Engraftment levels were assessed by flow cytometry of peripheral blood. Serum samples were collected every six weeks for measurement of bone turnover markers. At termination bones were collected for µCT and mechanical testing.
An engraftment level of 98% was obtained. From week 6 until termination bone resorption was significantly reduced, while the osteoclast number was increased when comparing oc/oc to controls. Bone formation was elevated at week 6, normalized at week 12, and reduced onwards. µCT and mechanical analyses of femurs and vertebrae showed increased bone volume and bone strength of cortical and trabecular bone.
In conclusion, these data show that attenuation of acid secretion in adult mice leads to uncoupling and improves bone strength.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease associated with potentially debilitating joint inflammation, as well as altered skeletal bone metabolism and co-morbid conditions. Early diagnosis and aggressive treatment to control disease activity offers the highest likelihood of preserving function and preventing disability. Joint inflammation is characterized by synovitis, osteitis, and/or peri-articular osteopenia, often accompanied by development of subchondral bone erosions, as well as progressive joint space narrowing. Biochemical markers of joint cartilage and bone degradation may enable timely detection and assessment of ongoing joint damage, and their use in facilitating treatment strategies is under investigation. Early detection of joint damage may be assisted by the characterization of biochemical markers that identify patients whose joint damage is progressing rapidly and who are thus most in need of aggressive treatment, and that, alone or in combination, identify those individuals who are likely to respond best to a potential treatment, both in terms of limiting joint damage and relieving symptoms. The aims of this review are to describe currently available biochemical markers of joint metabolism in relation to the pathobiology of joint damage and systemic bone loss in RA; to assess the limitations of, and need for additional, novel biochemical markers in RA and other rheumatic diseases, and the strategies used for assay development; and to examine the feasibility of advancement of personalized health care using biochemical markers to select therapeutic agents to which a patient is most likely to respond.