Differential Proteomics for Distinguishing Ischemic Stroke from Controls: a Pilot Study of the SpecTRA Project.

Transl Stroke Res. 2018 Jan 24. doi: 10.1007/s12975-018-0609-z. [Epub ahead of print]
Penn AM, Saly V, Trivedi A, Lesperance ML, Votova K, Jackson AM, Croteau NS, Balshaw RF, Bibok MB, Smith DS, Lam KK, Morrison J, Lu L, Coutts SB, Borchers CH

A diagnostic blood test for stroke is desirable but will likely require multiple proteins rather than a single "troponin." Validating large protein panels requires large patient numbers. Mass spectrometry (MS) is a cost-effective tool for this task. We compared differences in the abundance of 147 protein markers to distinguish 20 acute cerebrovascular syndrome (ACVS) patients who presented to the Emergency Department of one urban hospital within < 24 h from onset) and from 20 control patients who were enrolled via an outpatient neurology clinic. We targeted proteins from the stroke literature plus cardiovascular markers previously studied in our lab. One hundred forty-one proteins were quantified using MS, 8 were quantified using antibody protein enrichment with MS, and 32 were measured using ELISA, with some proteins measured by multiple techniques. Thirty proteins (4 by ELISA and 26 by the MS techniques) were differentially abundant between mimic and stroke after adjusting for age in robust regression analyses (FDR < 0.20). A logistic regression model using the first two principal components of the proteins significantly improved discrimination between strokes and controls compared to a model based on age alone (p < 0.001, cross-validated AUC 0.93 vs. 0.78). Significant proteins included markers of inflammation (47%), coagulation (40%), atrial fibrillation (7%), neurovascular unit injury (3%), and other (3%). These results suggest the potential value of plasma proteins as biomarkers for ACVS diagnosis and the role of plasma-based MS in this area.