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Mol Med Rep. 2018 Feb;17(2):2827-2836. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2017.8250. Epub 2017 Dec 11.

Proteomic analysis of synovial fluid in osteoarthritis using SWATH‑mass spectrometry.

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Department of Emergency, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100853, P.R. China.
Department of Orthopedics, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100853, P.R. China.
National Center of Biomedical Analysis, Beijing 100850, P.R. China.


The lack of early diagnostic maneuvers and effective pharmacotherapy for osteoarthritis (OA) is predominantly attributed to current limited understanding of its pathogenesis. In the present study, the alteration of synovial fluid (SF) proteome in OA were analyzed using SWATH‑mass spectrometry (SWATH‑MS) to further elucidate the pathogenesis of OA. SF samples were collected from 10 OA and 10 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients undergoing arthroplasty and 10 patients undergoing arthroscopy for traumatic arthritis (meniscus injury without cartilage lesion). According to the Kellgren‑Lawrence (KL) radiographic grading criteria, all the OA and RA patients were classified as KL grade 4. SWATH‑MS was applied to identify differentially expressed proteins specifically regulated in OA. Differentially expressed proteins identified by SWATH‑MS were subjected to gene ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway annotation. Proteins of interest were quantified by enzyme‑linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) following identification. With the use of SWATH‑MS, 131 proteins were identified to be differentially expressed in OA, of which 93 corresponded to upregulation and 38 to downregulation. Complement C1r was the most significantly upregulated protein in OA. Twenty‑eight out of the 131 proteins were specifically regulated in OA, of which 17 were upregulated and 11 were downregulated. Dickkopf‑related protein 2 (DKK2) was one of the proteins specifically upregulated in OA. Furthermore, KEGG pathway annotation indicated that differentially expressed proteins in OA were enriched in complement and coagulation cascades. ELISA indicated that OA severity was positively correlated with the levels of complement C1r (r=0.549; P<0.001) and DKK2 (r=0.79; P<0.001) in the SF. The results indicate that complement and coagulation cascades are involved in the pathogenesis of OA. Differentially expressed proteins, including complement C1r and DKK2 may be used as potential biomarkers or drug targets, which may facilitate with intervention of OA.

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