Using immunoproteomics to identify alpha-enolase as an autoantigen in liver fibrosis

Bo Peng, Xueyong Huang, Ernesto S. Nakayasu, John R. Petersen, Suimin Qiu, Igor C. Almeida, Jian Ying Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Liver fibrosis results from extracellular matrix accumulation during the wound healing process when the liver is insulted with chronic viral infection, inflammation, or alcoholic diseases. The current diagnosis of liver fibrosis is mainly dependent on biopsy, which is an invasive approach. Identification of serological biomarkers has been considered as the most promising way for early detection of the disease. Although several biomarkers in liver fibrosis have been identified, the problem is that these markers can be also detected in fibrogenesis that occurred in other organs. In this study, we have identified and characterized some cellular proteins that can be recognized by autoantibodies in the sera from patients with precirrhotic stage of liver fibrosis. Among 180 sera from patients with liver fibrosis, 14.4% (26/180) of sera contained autoantibody against a protein migrating around 47 kDa on SDS-PAGE gel. Indirect immunofluorescence assay using purified autoantibody against the 47-kDa protein showed that this protein mainly localized in the cytoplasm. Using immunoproteomic approach, the 47-kDa protein was identified as alpha-enolase. In further study, the frequency of antialpha-enolase antibody in sera from patients with precirrhotic stage of liver fibrosis (21.6%, 27/125) was significantly higher than that in sera from patients with cirrhosis (9.1%, 5/55) and liver cancer (14.3%, 12/84), as well as in sera from healthy individuals (4.1%, 3/74). Therefore, alpha-enolase is an autoantigen that elicits autoimmune response in liver fibrosis and can be a potential prognostic factor for liver fibrosis diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1789-1796
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 5 2013


  • alpha-enolase
  • autoantigen
  • autoimmune response
  • immunoproteomics
  • liver fibrosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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