Background: Asthma is chronic airway inflammation that occurs together with reversible airway obstruction. T-lymphocytes play an important role in the pathogenesis of asthma. Proteomic technology has rapidly developed in the postgenomic era, and it is now widely accepted as a complementary technology to genetic profiling. We investigated the changes of proteins in T-lymphocytes of asthma patients by using standard proteome technology: two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2D-PAGE), matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS), and a database search.
Methods: The proteins of CD3+ T-lymphocytes were isolated from whole blood of six steroid-naive asthmatic patients and of six healthy volunteers. 2D-PAGE was performed and the silver-stained protein spots were comparatively analyzed between the asthma and control groups using an image analyzer. Some differentially expressed spots were identified by MALDI-TOF-MS and database search. The messenger RNA expressions of some identified proteins were examined by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).
Results: Thirteen protein spots in the T-lymphocytes of the asthmatic patients were increased and 12 spots were decreased compared to those of the normal subjects. Among the identified proteins, the increased expression of the messenger RNA of phosphodiesterase 4C and thioredoxin-2 and the decreased expression of the messenger RNA of glutathione S-transferase M3 were confirmed by RT-PCR in the asthmatic patients.
Conclusions: Proteomic examination of the peripheral T-lymphocytes revealed some differentially expressed proteins in the asthmatic patients. The possibility of using the differentially expressed proteins as important biomarkers and therapeutic targets in asthma patients warrants further studies.