Urinary proteome analysis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptom subgroups

Young Ah Goo, Kevin Cain, Monica Jarrett, Lynne Smith, Joachim Voss, Ernie Tolentino, Joyce Tsuji, Yihsuan S. Tsai, Alexandre Panchaud, David R. Goodlett, Robert J. Shulman, Margaret Heitkemper*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder characterized by chronic abdominal pain associated with alterations in bowel function. Given the heterogeneity of the symptoms, multiple pathophysiologic factors are suspected to play a role. We classified women with IBS into four subgroups based on distinct symptom profiles. In-depth shotgun proteomic analysis was carried out to profile the urinary proteomes to identify possible proteins associated with these subgroups. First void urine samples with urine creatinine level ≥100 mg/dL were used after excluding samples that tested positive for blood. Urine from 10 subjects representing each symptom subgroup was pooled for proteomic analysis. The urine proteome was analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) using a data-independent method known as Precursor Acquisition Independent From Ion Count (PAcIFIC) that allowed extended detectable dynamic range. Differences in protein quantities were determined by peptide spectral counting followed by validation of select proteins with ELISA or a targeted single reaction monitoring (LC-SRM/MS) approach. Four IBS symptom subgroups were selected: (1) Constipation, (2) Diarrhea + Low Pain, (3) Diarrhea + High Pain, and (4) High Pain + High Pychological Distress. A fifth group consisted of Healthy Control subjects. From comparisons of quantitative spectral counting data among the symptom subgroups and controls, a total of 18 proteins that showed quantitative differences in relative abundance and possible physiological relevance to IBS were selected for further investigation. Three of the 18 proteins were chosen for validation by either ELISA or SRM. An elevated expression of gelsolin (GSN) was associated with the high pain groups. Trefoil Factor 3 (TFF3) levels were higher in IBS groups compared to controls. In this study, the IBS patients subclassified by predominant symptoms showed differences in urine proteome levels. Proteins showing distinctive changes are involved in homeostasis of intestinal function and inflammatory response. These findings warrant future studies with larger, independent cohorts to enable more extensive assessment and validation of urinary protein markers as a diagnostic tool in adults with IBS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5650-5662
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 7 2012


  • biomarker
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • mass spectrometry
  • proteomics
  • urine
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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