Proteomic discovery in sickle cell disease: Elevated neurogranin levels in children with sickle cell disease.

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited hemoglobinopathy that causes stroke and silent cerebral infarct (SCI). Our aim was to identify markers of brain injury in SCD.

Plasma proteomes were analyzed using a sequential separation approach of hemoglobin (Hb) and top abundant plasma protein depletion, followed by reverse phase separation of intact proteins, trypsin digestion, and tandem mass spectrometry. We compared plasma proteomes of children with SCD with and without SCI in the Silent Cerebral Infarct Multi-Center Clinical Trial (SIT Trial) to age-matched, healthy non-SCD controls.

From the SCD group, 1172 proteins were identified. Twenty-five percent (289/1172) were solely in the SCI group. Twenty-five proteins with enriched expression in the human brain were identified in the SCD group. Neurogranin (NRGN) was the most abundant brain-enriched protein in plasma of children with SCD. Using a NRGN sandwich immunoassay and SIT Trial samples, median NRGN levels were higher at study entry in children with SCD (0.28 ng/mL, N = 100) compared to control participants (0.12 ng/mL, N = 25, p < 0.0004).

NRGN levels are elevated in children with SCD. NRGN and other brain-enriched plasma proteins identified in plasma of children with SCD may provide biochemical evidence of neurological injury.

Barron-Casella E, Casella JF, Everett AD, Faulcon LM, Fu Z, Jones K, Lance EI, Strouse JJ, Van Eyk JE, Whyte-Stewart D, Yang J

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Proteomics Clin Appl, 2021, 15 (5)

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