A Qualitative and Quantitative Proteomic Study of Human Microdialysate and the Cutaneous Response to Injury


The extracellular fluid space is the site of intercellular communication and represents an important source of mediators that can shed light on the parenchymal environment. Sampling of this compartment using continuous microdialysis allows assessment of the temporal changes in extracellular mediators involved in tissue homeostasis and disease processes. However, novel biomarker identification is limited by the current need to utilize specific, targeted molecular assays. The aim of our study was to explore the use of qualitative and quantitative proteomic approaches to define the protein content of dermal dialysate. Timed dermal dialysate samples were collected from healthy human volunteers for 5 h following probe insertion, using a 3,000-kDa MWCO membrane perfused at a rate of 3 μl/min. Dialysate proteins were identified using GeLC–MS/MS and iTRAQ approaches and functions assigned according to the Gene Ontology classification system. More than 80 proteins (size range 11–516 kDa) originating from both extracellular and intracellular fluid space were identified using the qualitative approach of GeLC–MS/MS. Quantitative iTRAQ data were obtained for 27 proteins with relative change ratios between consecutive timed samples showing changes of >1.5-fold. Interstitial proteins can be identified and measured using shotgun proteomic techniques and changes detected during the acute inflammatory response. Our findings provide a platform from which to explore novel protein biomarkers and their modulation in health and disease.

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Bicinchoninic Acid


In situ trypsin digestion of proteins in SDS–PAGE gel slices and separation of resulting peptides by nano-scale liquid chromatography


Gene ontology


Isobaric tagging for relative and absolute quantification


Tandem mass spectrometry


Triethylammonium bicarbonate




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The authors extend their thanks to many colleagues at Unilever and Southampton, and in particular Therese Nestor and Shanon Pead (CPR) for their technical support. Instrumentation in the Centre for Proteomic Research is supported by a grant from the Science Research Infrastructure Fund. CAG was supported by a Gerald Kerkut Charitable Trust studentship and additional funding for this work including support for EP was provided as part of Unilever’s ongoing support in developing novel ways of delivering consumer safety.

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Correspondence to Geraldine F. Clough.

Additional information

Carolyn Gill and Erika Parkinson he contributed equally to this work.

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Gill, C., Parkinson, E., Church, M.K. et al. A Qualitative and Quantitative Proteomic Study of Human Microdialysate and the Cutaneous Response to Injury. AAPS J 13, 309–317 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1208/s12248-011-9269-6

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  • injury
  • interstitial fluid
  • microdialysis
  • proteomics
  • skin