Plasma lipidomic profiling in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Lu Fang, Piyushkumar A. Mundra, Fenling Fan, Abby Galvin, Jacquelyn M. Weir, Gerard Wong, Jaye Chin-Dusting, Flavia Cicuttini, Peter Meikle, Anthony Michael Dart

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is linked to increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, not completely explained by traditional risk factors. Importantly, the increased risk occurs despite lower levels of total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Whilst systemic inflammation may be a factor, it is possible that changes in individual lipid species contribute to the increased cardiovascular risk. Objectives: In the present study, we characterized plasma lipidomic profiles in patients with RA in comparison with healthy controls. Methods: Patients with RA (n = 32) and age- and gender-matched healthy volunteers (n = 84) were recruited. Fasting plasma lipid profiles were measured using electrospray-ionisation tandem mass spectrometry. 24 lipid classes and subclasses were measured. Results: Patients with RA had normal total, low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, but higher triglycerides than controls. Five lipid classes (dihydroceramides, alkylphosphatidylethanolamine, alkenylphosphatidylethanolamine, lysophosphatidylinositol, phosphatidylserine) differed between patients with RA and controls. Then we measured 36 lipid species within these 5 classes and found that 11 lipid species were different between patients with RA and controls. Three lipid classes (dihydroceramides, lysophosphatidylinositol, phosphatidylserine) and 10 lipid species remained significantly associated with RA after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, current smoking, systolic blood pressure and anti-hypertensive treatment in a binary logistic regression model. Conclusion: This study has identified lipid alterations in RA. These alterations of lipids warrant further investigation as they may be associated with accelerated atherosclerosis and joint inflammation in patient with RA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number136
Number of pages10
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Lipid profiles
  • Lipidomics
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

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