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Systemic alterations in plasma proteins from women with chronic widespread pain compared to healthy controls: a proteomic study

Authors Wåhlén K, Olausson P, Carlsson A, Ghafouri N, Gerdle B, Ghafouri B

Received 24 November 2016

Accepted for publication 8 February 2017

Published 5 April 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 797—809


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Katherine Hanlon

Karin Wåhlén, Patrik Olausson, Anders Carlsson, Nazdar Ghafouri, Björn Gerdle, Bijar Ghafouri

Pain and Rehabilitation Centre, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

Abstract: Chronic widespread pain (CWP) is a complex pain condition that is difficult to treat. The prevalence of CWP approximates ~10% of the general population, with higher prevalence in women. Lack of understanding of molecular mechanisms has been a challenge for diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain. The aim of this study was to explore the systemic protein changes in CWP compared to those in healthy controls (CON). By applying 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis, we analyzed the protein pattern of plasma samples from women with CWP (n=16) and healthy women (n=23). The proteomic data were analyzed using multivariate statistical models, and altered proteins were identified using mass spectrometry. The proteome analysis was further validated by gel-free Western blot. Multivariate statistical data analysis of quantified proteins revealed 22 altered proteins in women with CWP, compared to CON group. Many of the identified proteins are previously known to be involved in different parts of the complement system and metabolic and inflammatory processes, e.g., complement factor B, vitamin D-binding protein, ceruloplasmin, transthyretin and alpha-2-HS-glycoprotein. These results indicate that important systemic protein differences exist between women with CWP and healthy women. Further, this study illustrates the potential use of proteomics to detect biomarkers that may provide new insights into the molecular mechanism(s) of chronic pain. However, further larger investigations are required in order to confirm these findings before it will be possible to identify proteins as potential pain biomarkers for clinical use.

Keywords: inflammation, biomarker, painomics, complement system, GC protein

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