WIRM 2024: Immune Profiling of Autoimmune Diseases with NULISAseq™ Inflammation Panel 250


Cytokines and chemokines are critical components of the immune system and play important roles in autoimmune diseases. Comprehensive profiling of proteins in blood can provide deeper insights into the mechanisms underlying this highly complex and heterogeneous group of diseases. However, many of these proteins are present at very low concentrations in plasma, below the limit of detection of current immunoassays. We recently developed a novel automated multiplex immunoassay technology, NULISA, capable of attomolar-level sensitivity, and a 250-plex inflammation-focused panel targeting a broad range of cytokines/chemokines and other important inflammation and immune response-related proteins. We conducted a small pilot study to assess the utility of this panel for autoimmune disease research. We analyzed plasma samples from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) (n=2), Sjögren’s syndrome (SjS) (n=3), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) (n=3), and ulcerative colitis (UC) (n=4), and 31 healthy donor samples. Linear model analysis was performed to identify differentially abundant proteins in diseases compared to healthy controls. At a 5% false discovery rate, the abundance of 17 proteins increased in RA, 3 proteins increased in SjS, 65 proteins increased, and 4 proteins decreased in SLE, and 5 proteins increased in UC, including many low-abundance targets with important roles in autoimmune diseases, such as IL4, IL5, IL20, IL17A, IL17F, IL33, and IL2RB. In summary, with the ultrahigh sensitivity and the most comprehensive inflammatory cytokine/chemokine panel, the NULISA™ Platform promises to be a powerful discovery tool for autoimmune disease research, which may lead to new diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets.