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J Biol Chem. 2019 Feb 15;294(7):2555-2568. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA118.005816. Epub 2018 Dec 6.

Metabolic fingerprinting for diagnosis of fibromyalgia and other rheumatologic disorders.

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From the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology and Immunology,
the Department of Food Science and Technology, and.
From the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology and Immunology.
the Center of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210 and.
the Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, California 95616.


Diagnosis and treatment of fibromyalgia (FM) remains a challenge owing to the lack of reliable biomarkers. Our objective was to develop a rapid biomarker-based method for diagnosing FM by using vibrational spectroscopy to differentiate patients with FM from those with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA), or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and to identify metabolites associated with these differences. Blood samples were collected from patients with a diagnosis of FM (n = 50), RA (n = 29), OA (n = 19), or SLE (n = 23). Bloodspot samples were prepared, and spectra collected with portable FT-IR and FT-Raman microspectroscopy and subjected to metabolomics analysis by ultra-HPLC (uHPLC), coupled to a photodiode array (PDA) and tandem MS/MS. Unique IR and Raman spectral signatures were identified by pattern recognition analysis and clustered all study participants into classes (FM, RA, and SLE) with no misclassifications (p < 0.05, and interclass distances > 2.5). Furthermore, the spectra correlated (r = 0.95 and 0.83 for IR and Raman, respectively) with FM pain severity measured with fibromyalgia impact questionnaire revised version (FIQR) assessments. Protein backbones and pyridine-carboxylic acids dominated this discrimination and might serve as biomarkers for syndromes such as FM. uHPLC-PDA-MS/MS provided insights into metabolites significantly differing among the disease groups, not only in molecular m/z + and m/z - values but also in UV-visible chromatograms. We conclude that vibrational spectroscopy may provide a reliable diagnostic test for differentiating FM from other disorders and for establishing serologic biomarkers of FM-associated pain.


Raman spectroscopy; biomarker; blood; fibromyalgia; fingerprinting; high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC); infrared spectroscopy (IR spectroscopy); mass spectrometry (MS); pain

[Available on 2020-02-15]

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest with the contents of this article.

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