Research ArticleBiliary Atresia

Large-scale proteomics identifies MMP-7 as a sentinel of epithelial injury and of biliary atresia

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Science Translational Medicine  22 Nov 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 417, eaan8462
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aan8462

Bile duct injury marker to the rescue

Biliary atresia is a poorly understood pediatric disease, which is associated with progressive bile duct obstruction and liver injury in young infants. Early diagnosis of this condition is crucial for restoring bile flow and protecting the liver from irreversible damage, but the disease can be difficult to distinguish from more common causes of cholestasis. By performing proteomics on large sets of patient samples, Lertudomphonwanit et al. identified the serum concentration of a protein called matrix metalloproteinase-7 as a promising diagnostic marker of this disease, especially when used together with γ-glutamyltranspeptidase, a less specific marker of cholestasis. The authors also investigated the mechanistic role of matrix metalloproteinase-7 in bile ducts, supporting the biological relevance of this marker.

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