The Proteomic Profile of Interstitial Lung Abnormalities

Gisli Thor Axelsson, Gunnar Gudmundsson, Katherine A. Pratte, Thor Aspelund, Rachel K. Putman, Jason L. Sanders, Elias F. Gudmundsson, Hiroto Hatabu, Valborg Gudmundsdottir, Alexander Gudjonsson, Takuya Hino, Tomoyuki Hida, Brian D. Hobbs, Michael H. Cho, Edwin K. Silverman, Russell P. Bowler, Lenore J. Launer, Lori L. Jennings, Gary M. Hunninghake, Valur EmilssonVilmundur Gudnason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Rationale: Knowledge on biomarkers of interstitial lung disease is incomplete. Interstitial lung abnormalities (ILAs) are radiologic changes that may present in its early stages. Objectives: To uncover blood proteins associated with ILAs using large-scale proteomics methods. Methods: Data from two prospective cohort studies, the AGES-Reykjavik (Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility–Reykjavik) study (N = 5,259) for biomarker discovery and the COPDGene (Genetic Epidemiology of COPD) study (N = 4,899) for replication, were used. Blood proteins were measured using DNA aptamers, targeting more than 4,700 protein analytes. The association of proteins with ILAs and ILA progression was assessed with regression modeling, as were associations with genetic risk factors. Adaptive Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator models were applied to bootstrap data samples to discover sets of proteins predictive of ILAs and their progression. Measurements and Main Results: Of 287 associations, SFTPB (surfactant protein B) (odds ratio [OR], 3.71 [95% confidence interval (CI), 3.20–4.30]; P = 4.28 3 10267), SCGB3A1 (Secretoglobin family 3A member 1) (OR, 2.43 [95% CI, 2.13–2.77]; P = 8.01 3 10240), and WFDC2 (WAP four-disulfide core domain protein 2) (OR, 2.42 [95% CI, 2.11–2.78]; P = 4.01 3 10236) were most significantly associated with ILA in AGES-Reykjavik and were replicated in COPDGene. In AGES-Reykjavik, concentrations of SFTPB were associated with the rs35705950 MUC5B (mucin 5B) promoter polymorphism, and SFTPB and WFDC2 had the strongest associations with ILA progression. Multivariate models of ILAs in AGES-Reykjavik, ILAs in COPDGene, and ILA progression in AGES-Reykjavik had validated areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.880, 0.826, and 0.824, respectively. Conclusions: Novel, replicated associations of ILA, its progression, and genetic risk factors with numerous blood proteins are demonstrated as well as machine-learning–based models with favorable predictive potential. Several proteins are revealed as potential markers of early fibrotic lung disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-346
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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