Metabolic discrimination of synovial fluid between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis using gas chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometry

Sooah Kim, Jiwon Hwang, Jungyeon Kim, Sun Hee Lee, Yu Eun Cheong, Seulkee Lee, Kyoung Heon Kim, Hoon Suk Cha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) are clinicopathologically different. Objectives: We aimed to assess the feasibility of metabolomics in differentiating the metabolite profiles of synovial fluid between RA and OA using gas chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Methods: We first compared the global metabolomic changes in the synovial fluid of 19 patients with RA and OA. Partial least squares-discriminant, hierarchical clustering, and univariate analyses were performed to distinguish metabolites of RA and OA. These findings were then validated using synovial fluid samples from another set of 15 patients with RA and OA. Results: We identified 121 metabolites in the synovial fluid of the first 19 samples. The score plot of PLS-DA showed a clear separation between RA and OA. Twenty-eight crucial metabolites, including hypoxanthine, xanthine, adenosine, citrulline, histidine, and tryptophan, were identified to be capable of distinguishing RA metabolism from that of OA; these were found to be associated with purine and amino acid metabolism. Conclusion: Our results demonstrated that metabolite profiling of synovial fluid could clearly discriminate between RA and OA, suggesting that metabolomics may be a feasible tool to assist in the diagnosis and advance the comprehension of pathological processes for diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number48
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jul

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Mid-career Researcher Program (2020R1A2B5B02002631) and Young Researcher Program (2020R1G1A1008268), both from the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Korean Government (MSIT), and by the Korea Institute of Planning and Evaluation for Technology in Food, Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, through the High Value-added Food Technology Development Program, funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (321036051SB010). This work was also supported by the Korea University Food Safety Hall for the Institute of Biomedical Science and Food Safety and by a Korea University Grant.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry
  • Metabolite profiling
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Synovial fluid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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