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Arthritis Res Ther. 2013;15(6):R210.

Serum level of adiponectin is a surrogate independent biomarker of radiographic disease progression in early rheumatoid arthritis: results from the ESPOIR cohort.



Adipokines such as adiponectin, leptin, and visfatin/nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) have recently emerged as pro-inflammatory mediators involved in the pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We aimed to determine whether serum adipokine levels independently predicted early radiographic disease progression in early RA.


In total, 791 patients were included from the prospective Etude et Suivi des POlyarthrites Indifférenciées Récentes (ESPOIR) cohort who met the American College of Rheumatology-European League Against Rheumatism criteria for RA (n = 632) or had undifferentiated arthritis (UA) (n = 159). Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to assess baseline serum levels of adiponectin, leptin, and visfatin/NAMPT. In the RA group, we tested the association of serum adipokine levels and (a) baseline radiographic damage and (b) radiographic disease progression, defined as a change >0 or ≥ 5 in total Sharp-van der Heijde Score (∆SHS) between inclusion and 1 year (∆SHS ≥1 or rapid radiographic progression: ∆SHS ≥5), adjusting for confounders (age, sex, body-mass index, insulin resistance, C-reactive protein level, Disease Activity Score in 28 joints, Health Assessment Questionnaire score, autoantibody status, steroid use, and radiographic evidence of RA damage at inclusion).


Adiponectin level was independently associated with baseline total SHS (adjusted β = 0.12; P = 0.006). It was also associated with ∆SHS ≥1 (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.84 (1.25 to 2.72)) involving erosive as well as narrowing disease progression (aOR = 1.73 (1.17 to 2.55) and 1.93 (1.04 to 3.57), respectively). Serum adiponectin level predicted ∆SHS ≥5 (aOR = 2.0 (1.14 to 3.52)). Serum leptin level was independently associated only with ∆SHS >0 (aOR = 1.59 (1.05 to 2.42)). Conversely, serum visfatin/NAMPT level and radiographic disease progression were unrelated. Considering the receiver-operated characteristic curves, the best adiponectin cut-offs were 4.14 μg/ml for ∆SHS ≥1 and 6.04 μg/ml for ∆SHS ≥5, with a good specificity (58% and 75% for ∆SHS ≥1 and ∆SHS ≥5, respectively) and high negative predictive values (75% and 92% for ∆SHS ≥1 or ∆SHS ≥5, respectively).


Serum adiponectin level is a simple useful biomarker associated with early radiographic disease progression in early RA, independent of RA-confounding factors and metabolic status.

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