Relationship Between Inflammation and Metabolism in Patients With Newly Presenting Rheumatoid Arthritis

Gurpreet Singh Jutley, Kalvin Sahota, Ilfita Sahbudin, Andrew Filer, Thurayya Arayssi, Stephen P. Young, Karim Raza

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Background: Systemic inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with metabolic changes. We used nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy–based metabolomics to assess the relationship between an objective measure of systemic inflammation [C-reactive protein (CRP)] and both the serum and urinary metabolome in patients with newly presenting RA.

Methods: Serum (n=126) and urine (n=83) samples were collected at initial presentation from disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug naïve RA patients for metabolomic profile assessment using 1-dimensional 1H-NMR spectroscopy. Metabolomics data were analysed using partial least square regression (PLS-R) and orthogonal projections to latent structure discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA) with cross validation.

Results: Using PLS-R analysis, a relationship between the level of inflammation, as assessed by CRP, and the serum (p=0.001) and urinary (p<0.001) metabolome was detectable. Likewise, following categorisation of CRP into tertiles, patients in the lowest CRP tertile and the highest CRP tertile were statistically discriminated using OPLS-DA analysis of both serum (p=0.033) and urinary (p<0.001) metabolome. The most highly weighted metabolites for these models included glucose, amino acids, lactate, and citrate. These findings suggest increased glycolysis, perturbation in the citrate cycle, oxidative stress, protein catabolism and increased urea cycle activity are key characteristics of newly presenting RA patients with elevated CRP.

Conclusions: This study consolidates our understanding of a previously identified relationship between serum metabolite profile and inflammation and provides novel evidence that there is a relationship between urinary metabolite profile and inflammation as measured by CRP. Identification of these metabolic perturbations provides insights into the pathogenesis of RA and may help in the identification of therapeutic targets.
Original languageEnglish
Article number676105
JournalFrontiers in immunology
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2021


  • cachexia
  • citrate cycle
  • glycolysis
  • inflammation
  • metabolism
  • oxidative stress
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • urea cycle


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