AGPAT1 as a novel colonic biomarker for discriminating between ulcerative colitis with and without primary sclerosing cholangitis

J. Vessby*, J. R. Wisniewski, C. Lindskog, N. Eriksson, K. Gabrysch, K. Zettl, A. Wanders, M. Carlson, F. Rorsman, M. Åberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Ulcerative colitis (UC) associated with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC-UC) is considered a unique inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) entity. PSC diagnosis in an IBD individual entails a significantly higher risk of gastrointestinal cancer; however, biomarkers for identifying patients with UC at risk for PSC are lacking. We, therefore, performed a thorough PSC-UC biomarker study, starting from archived colonic tissue.

METHODS: Proteins were extracted out of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded proximal colon samples from PSC-UC (n = 9), UC (n = 7), and healthy controls (n = 7). Patients with IBD were in clinical and histological remission, and all patients with UC had a history of pancolitis. Samples were processed by the multienzyme digestion FASP and subsequently analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Candidate proteins were replicated in an independent cohort (n: PSC-UC = 16 and UC = 21) and further validated by immunohistochemistry.

RESULTS: In the discovery step, 7,279 unique proteins were detected. The top 5 most differentiating proteins (PSC-UC vs UC) based on linear regression analysis were selected for replication. Of these, 1-acetylglycerol-3-phosphate O-acyltransferase 1 (AGPAT1) was verified as higher in PSC-UC than UC (P = 0.009) in the replication cohort. A difference on the group level was also confirmed by immunohistochemistry, showing more intense AGPAT1 staining in patients with PSC-UC compared with UC.

DISCUSSION: We present AGPAT1 as a potential colonic biomarker for differentiating PSC-UC from UC. Our findings have possible implication for future PSC-IBD diagnostics and surveillance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical and translational gastroenterology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of The American College of Gastroenterology.


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