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Janika Nättinen, Ulla Aapola, Antti Jylhä, Anu Vaajanen, Hannu Uusitalo; Comparison of Capillary and Schirmer Strip Tear Fluid Sampling Methods Using SWATH-MS Proteomics Approach. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2020;9(3):16. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.9.3.16.
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The purpose of this study was to examine the protein profile differences between capillary and Schirmer strip tear fluid samples.
Both capillary and Schirmer strip tear samples were collected from 31 healthy participants at the same visit, and the samples were analyzed with nanoflow liquid chromatography coupled with time-of-flight mass spectrometer (NanoLC-MSTOF), implementing a sequential window acquisition of all theoretical fragment ion spectra mass spectrometry (SWATH-MS). Sample type-specific and combined spectral libraries were used to evaluate the differences between the sample types in protein expression levels and biological functions.
In proportion, more extracellular proteins connected to immune response were quantified from the capillary samples while Schirmer strip samples contained more intracellular proteins. The sample types yielded similar counts of quantified proteins when a combined spectral library including both sample types was implemented. The differential expression analysis between the sample types identified proteins increased in the capillary samples (e.g., immunoglobulins) and Schirmer strip samples (e.g., heat-shock proteins, annexins, and S100 proteins).
Tear proteomics data originating from the same participants vary depending on whether the sample is collected with capillary or Schirmer strip, although there is also overlap between the two sample types when a combined spectral library is implemented in the SWATH-MS analysis. In discovery-based proteomics research of tear fluid, appropriate sampling method should be chosen carefully based on the research focus.
Currently, there is no consensus on how the tear fluid sampling methods affect the resulting proteomics data, and hence, identification of the most suitable sampling methods for clinical researchers with varying research interests is important.
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