Priority Communication| Volume 68, ISSUE 3, P219-222, August 01, 2010

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Classification of Alcohol Abuse by Plasma Protein Biomarkers


      Biochemical diagnostics of ethanol intake would improve alcohol abuse treatment and have applications in clinical trial and public safety settings. Self-reporting of alcohol use has clinical utility but lacks the desired reliability. Previously, proposed single-analyte biochemical tests of alcohol intake suffer from low sensitivity and specificity or examine only acute drinking and have therefore seen limited clinical use.


      To address this unmet need, plasma protein biomarker discovery and validation were performed with an alcohol self-administering nonhuman primate model system to develop a diagnostic that accurately classifies subjects into nondrinking, nonabusive drinking, and abusive drinking categories.


      A 17-plasma protein panel was determined that correctly classifies abusive drinking with 100% sensitivity and also differentiates any level of drinking from alcohol abstinence with 88% accuracy.


      The biomarker panel reflects changes in multiple organ systems and suggests robust changes in the plasma proteome with drinking that might serve as a sensitive and specific diagnostic test. The specific plasma proteins altered with alcohol self-administration might represent indicators of alcohol-induced stress on a variety of organ systems.

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