Epithelial proteome profiling suggests the essential role of interferon-inducible proteins in patients with allergic rhinitis

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Seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR) caused by intermittent exposure to seasonal pollen causes itching, nasal congestion, and repeated sneezing, with profound effects on quality of life, work productivity, and school performance. Although both the genotype and environmental factors can contribute to the immunologic basis of allergic reactions, the molecular underpinnings associated with the pathogenesis of allergic rhinitis are not entirely clear.


To address these questions, nasal epithelial brushings were collected from 29 patients with SAR and 31 control subjects during and after the pollen season. We then implemented an orbitrap-based, bottom-up, label-free quantitative proteomics approach, followed by multivariate analyses to identify differentially abundant (DA) proteins among the 4 sample groups.


We identified a total of 133 DA proteins for which the most significantly overrepresented functional category was found to be interferon 1 signaling. Two proteins, cystatin 1 and myeloblastin, the former of which protects against protease activity of allergens and the latter with a role in epithelial barrier function, were DA in patients with SAR and control subjects, irrespective of season. Moreover, interferon-inducible protein with tetratricopeptide repeats 1, cystatin 1, and interferon-inducible protein with tetratricopeptide repeats 3 were found to be differentially regulated between patients with SAR and control subjects, with inverse abundance dynamics during the transition from fall to spring.


We identified type 1 interferon–regulated proteins as biomarkers in patients with SAR, potentially playing an important role in its pathogenesis. Moreover, when compared with patients with SAR, healthy subjects exhibit an antagonistic proteomic response across seasons, which might prove to be a therapeutic target for disease prevention.

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