Proteomics, the large-scale study of the structure and function of proteins of a cell or organism, is a rapidly developing area of biomedical research which is perfectly suited to the study of pediatric lung injury, where a variety of samples are easily, and repeatedly, accessible including plasma (reflecting a whole body response) and broncheoalveolar lung fluid (reflecting the lungs response). When applied to pediatric lung injury, proteomics could be used to develop much needed early biomarkers of lung injury, elucidate pathological pathways and determine protein alterations associated with specific disease processes. However despite the obvious benefits and need, proteomics is rarely utilized in studies of pediatric injury. This review primarily reports on the last decade of pediatric research into proteomes associated with specific respiratory diseases including bronchopulmonary dysplasia, respiratory infection, cystic fibrosis and asthma whilst also reflecting on the challenges unique to proteomic studies of the pediatric respiratory disease population. We conclude that the number of key pathological differences between the pediatric and adult study populations inhibit inference of results from adult studies onto a pediatric population and necessitate studies of the pediatric proteome. Furthermore the disparity amongst pediatric lung disease in terms of age at onset and underlying pathological mechanism (genetic, immunological, intervention-based, developmental arrest, inhaled toxin) will require proteomic studies which are well designed, with large disease specific patient sets to ensure adequate power as well as matched controls. Regardless of causative agent, pulmonary biomarkers are needed to predict the clinical course of pediatric lung disease, status, progression and response to treatment. Identification of early biomarkers is particularly pertinent in order to understand the natural history of disease and monitor progression so prevention of ongoing lung injury and impact on childhood can targeted.
Pereira-Fantini, P. M., & Tingay, D. G. (2016, February 29). The proteomics of lung injury in childhood: Challenges and opportunities. Clinical Proteomics. BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12014-016-9106-0