GC/TOF-MS-based metabolomic profiling in cultured fibroblast-like synoviocytes from rheumatoid arthritis

Joong Kyong Ahn, Sooah Kim, Jiwon Hwang, Jungyeon Kim, Kyoung Heon Kim, Hoon Suk Cha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease characterized by synovial inflammation and hyperplasia. Fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) in RA exhibit a tumor cell-like aggressive phenotype. Thus, gas chromatography/time-of-flight-mass spectrometry (GC/TOF-MS) was employed to identify the characteristic metabolic profiling of RA FLS. Methods Metabolite profiling of RA FLS and osteoarthritis (OA) FLS was performed using GC/TOF-MS in conjunction with statistical analyses. We performed metabolite set enrichment analysis to establish which pathways are affected. Results A total of 129 metabolites were identified. A principal component analysis and hierarchical clustering analysis demonstrated clear differentiation of the metabolic profiling between RA FLS and OA FLS. The levels of 35 metabolites that belonged to the amines, fatty acids, phosphates, and organic acids class were significantly increased in RA FLS compared to those in OA FLS. Also, the levels of 26 metabolites that belonged to the amino acids, sugars, and sugar alcohols class were significantly decreased in RA FLS compared to those in OA FLS. The sugar metabolism (glycolysis and pentose phosphate pathway) and amino acid metabolism (tyrosine and catecholamine biosynthesis, and protein biosynthesis) were severely disturbed in RA FLS compared to those in OA FLS. Conclusions Our metabolic results suggested that the alteration of sugar metabolism, lipolysis, and amino acid metabolism in RA FLS is related to synovial hyperplasia and inflammation. This is the first metabolomic study to determine metabolic changes characteristic of RA FLS, which will provide valuable information to gain in-depth insights into the pathogenesis of RA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-713
Number of pages7
JournalJoint Bone Spine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Dec 1


  • Amino acid metabolism
  • Fibroblast-like synoviocytes
  • Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sugar metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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