Characterization of the liver tissue interstitial fluid (TIF) proteome indicates potential for application in liver disease biomarker discovery.
ABSTRACT Tissue interstitial fluid (TIF) forms the interface between circulating body fluids and intracellular fluid. Pathological alterations of liver cells could be reflected in TIF, making it a promising source of liver disease biomarkers. Mouse liver TIF was extracted, separated by SDS-PAGE, analyzed by linear ion trap mass spectrometer, and 1450 proteins were identified. These proteins may be secreted, shed from membrane vesicles, or represent cellular breakdown products. They show different profiling patterns, quantities, and possibly modification/cleavage of intracellular proteins. The high solubility and even distribution of liver TIF supports its suitability for proteome analysis. Comparison of mouse liver TIF data with liver tissue and plasma proteome data identified major proteins that might be released from liver to plasma and serve as blood biomarkers of liver origin. This result was partially supported by comparison of human liver TIF data with human liver and plasma proteome data. Paired TIFs from tumor and nontumor liver tissues of a hepatocellular carcinoma patient were analyzed and the profile of subtracted differential proteins supports the potential for biomarker discovery in TIF. This study is the first analysis of the liver TIF proteome and provides a foundation for further application of TIF in liver disease biomarker discovery.