Human neutrophil peptides 1–3 are useful biomarkers in patients with active ulcerative colitis

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A specific useful biomarker for diagnosing ulcerative colitis (UC) has not yet been described. This study employed proteomics to identify serum protein biomarkers for UC.


Ninety-four blood samples were isolated from patients and controls (including 48 UC, 22 Crohn's disease [CD], 5 colorectal cancer, and 6 infectious colitis patients and 13 healthy subjects). Serum samples were analyzed using the SELDI-TOF/MS ProteinChip system. After applying the samples to ProteinChip arrays, we assessed differences in the proteomes using Ciphergen ProteinChip software and identified candidate proteins, which were then characterized in immunoassays.


Preliminary analysis using the ProteinChip system revealed significant peak-intensity differences for 27 serum proteins between 11 patients with UC and 7 healthy subjects. Among these proteins, 3 proteins (with mass/charge ratios of approximately 3400) were identified as human neutrophil peptides 1–3 (HNP 1–3). The presence of HNP 1–3 in the patient sera was confirmed using immunoassays. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays demonstrated that the mean plasma concentration of HNP 1–3 was significantly higher in patients with active UC (n = 28) than in patients whose UC was in remission (n = 20) or patients with CD (n = 22), infectious colitis, or healthy subjects, and tended to be higher than in patients with colon cancer. In addition, the plasma concentration of HNP 1–3 in patients that responded to corticosteroids-based therapy decreased after treatment, whereas it was not changed in nonresponders.


HNP 1–3 is a novel biomarker that may be useful for diagnosing patients with active UC and predicting treatment outcomes.

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