Degradation of the extracellular matrix is part of the pathology of ulcerative colitis†
The scientific value of re-analyzing existing datasets is often proportional to the complexity of the data. Proteomics data are inherently complex and can be analyzed at many levels, including proteins, peptides, and post-translational modifications to verify and/or develop new hypotheses. In this paper, we present our re-analysis of a previously published study comparing colon biopsy samples from ulcerative colitis (UC) patients to non-affected controls. We used a different statistical approach, employing a linear mixed-effects regression model and analyzed the data both on the protein and peptide level. In addition to confirming and reinforcing the original finding of upregulation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), we report novel findings, including that Extracellular Matrix (ECM) degradation and neutrophil maturation are involved in the pathology of UC. The pharmaceutically most relevant differential protein expressions were confirmed using immunohistochemistry as an orthogonal method. As part of this study, we also compared proteomics data to previously published mRNA expression data. These comparisons indicated compensatory regulation at transcription levels of the ECM proteins we identified and open possible new avenues for drug discovery.