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AbstractWhile unbiased proteomics of human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) has been used successfully to identify biomarkers of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), high‐abundance proteins mask the presence of lower abundance proteins that may have diagnostic and prognostic value. However, developments in mass spectrometry (MS) proteomic data acquisition methods offer improved protein depth. In this study, MS with library‐free data‐independent acquisition (DIA) was used to compare the CSF proteome of people with ALS (n = 40), healthy (n = 15) and disease (n = 8) controls. Quantified protein groups were subsequently correlated with clinical variables. Univariate analysis identified 7 proteins, all significantly upregulated in ALS versus healthy controls, and 9 with altered abundance in ALS versus disease controls (FDR < 0.1). Elevated chitotriosidase‐1 (CHIT1) was common to both comparisons and was proportional to ALS disability progression rate (Pearson r = 0.41, FDR‐adjusted p = 0.035) but not overall survival. Ubiquitin carboxyl‐terminal hydrolase isozyme L1 (UCHL1; upregulated in ALS versus healthy controls) was proportional to disability progression rate (Pearson r = 0.53, FDR‐adjusted p = 0.003) and survival (Kaplan Meier log‐rank p = 0.013) but not independently in multivariate proportional hazards models. Weighted correlation network analysis was used to identify functionally relevant modules of proteins. One module, enriched for inflammatory functions, was associated with age at symptom onset (Pearson r = 0.58, FDR‐adjusted p = 0.005) and survival (Hazard Ratio = 1.78, FDR = 0.065), and a second module, enriched for endoplasmic reticulum proteins, was negatively correlated with disability progression rate (r = −0.42, FDR‐adjusted p = 0.109). DIA acquisition methodology therefore strengthened the biomarker candidacy of CHIT1 and UCHL1 in ALS, while additionally highlighted inflammatory and endoplasmic reticulum proteins as novel sources of prognostic biomarkers.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Neurochemistry



Publication Date





115 - 127