Novel biomarkers of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), in addition to antibodies against cyclic citrullinated peptides, are required. Metabolome analysis is a promising approach to identify metabolite biomarkers for clinical diagnosis. We adopted a comprehensive non-targeted metabolomics approach combining capillary electrophoresis time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOFMS) and liquid chromatography TOFMS. We constructed metabolomics profiling of 286 plasma samples of a Japanese population [92 RA patients, 13 systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients and 181 healthy controls). RA case-control association tests showed that seven metabolites exhibited significantly increased levels in RA samples compared with controls (P < 1.0 × 10-4; UTP, ethanolamine phosphate, ATP, GDP, ADP, 6-aminohexanoic acid and taurine), whereas one exhibited a decreased level (xanthine). The plasma levels of these eight metabolites were not significantly different between seropositive and seronegative RA patients (P > 0.05; n = 68 and 24, respectively). The four nucleotide levels (UTP, ATP, GDP and ADP) were significantly higher in the non-treatment patients in comparison between patients with and without treatment (P < 0.014; n = 57 and 35, respectively). Furthermore, we found that none of the four nucleotide levels showed significant differences in SLE case-control association tests (P > 0.2; 13 patients with SLE and the 181 shared controls) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) case-control association tests (P > 0.11; 42 patients with PsA and 38 healthy controls), indicating disease specificity in RA. In conclusion, our large-scale metabolome analysis demonstrated the increased plasma nucleotide levels in RA patients, which could be used as potential clinical biomarkers of RA, especially for seronegative RA.
- psoriatic arthritis
- systemic lupus erythematosus