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Background: New, more sensitive and specific biomarkers are needed to support other means of clinical diagnosis of neurodegenerative disorders. Proteomics technology is widely used in discovering new biomarkers. There are several difficulties with in-depth analysis of human plasma/ serum, including that there is no one proteomic platform that can offer complete identification of differences in proteomic profiles. Another set of problems is associated with heterogeneity of human samples in addition intrinsic variability associated with every step of proteomic investigation. Validation is the very last step of proteomic investigation and it is very often difficult to validate potential biomarker with desired sensitivity and specificity. Even though it may be possible to validate a differentially expressed protein, it may not necessarily prove to be a valid diagnostic biomarker.
Results: In the current study we report results of proteomic analysis of sera from HIV-infected individuals with or without cognitive impairment. Application of SELDI-TOF analysis followed by weak cation exchange chromatography and 1-dimensional electrophoresis led to discovery of gelsolin and prealbumin as differentially expressed proteins which were not detected in this cohort of samples when previously investigated by 2-dimensional electrophoresis with Difference Gel Electrophoresis technology.
Conclusion: Validation using western-blot analysis led us to conclude that relative change of the levels of these proteins in one patient during a timeframe might be more informative, sensitive and specific than application of average level estimated based on an even larger cohort of patients.