Urine peptidomic biomarkers for diagnosis of patients with systematic lupus erythematosus

M. Pejchinovski, J. Siwy, W. Mullen, H. Mischak, M. A. Petri, L. C. Burkly, Ru Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Systematic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is characterized with various complications which can cause serious organ damage in the human body. Despite the significant improvements in disease management of SLE patients, the non-invasive diagnosis is entirely missing. In this study, we used urinary peptidomic biomarkers for early diagnosis of disease onset to improve patient risk stratification, vital for effective drug treatment. Methods: Urine samples from patients with SLE, lupus nephritis (LN) and healthy controls (HCs) were analyzed using capillary electrophoresis coupled to mass spectrometry (CE-MS) for state-of-the-art biomarker discovery. Results: A biomarker panel made up of 65 urinary peptides was developed that accurately discriminated SLE without renal involvement from HC patients. The performance of the SLE-specific panel was validated in a multicentric independent cohort consisting of patients without SLE but with different renal disease and LN. This resulted in an area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC) of 0.80 (p < 0.0001, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.65–0.90) corresponding to a sensitivity and a specificity of 83% and 73%, respectively. Based on the end terminal amino acid sequences of the biomarker peptides, an in silico methodology was used to identify the proteases that were up or down-regulated. This identified matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) as being mainly responsible for the peptides fragmentation. Conclusions: A laboratory-based urine test was successfully established for early diagnosis of SLE patients. Our approach determined the activity of several proteases and provided novel molecular information that could potentially influence treatment efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-16
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • SLE
  • protease prediction
  • urine peptide biomarkers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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