Background Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) comprises a poorly understood group of chronic, childhood onset, autoimmune diseases with variable clinical outcomes.
Objectives We investigated whether profiling of the synovial fluid (SF) proteome by a fluorescent dye based, two-dimensional gel (DIGE) approach could distinguish the subset of patients in whom inflammation extends to affect a large number of joints, early in the disease process. The post-translational modifications to candidate protein markers were verified by a novel deglycosylation strategy.
Methods SF samples from 57 patients were obtained around time of initial diagnosis of JIA. At 1 year from inclusion patients were categorized according to ILAR criteria as oligoarticular arthritis (n=26), extended oligoarticular (n=8) and polyarticular disease (n=18). SF samples were labeled with Cy dyes and separated by two-dimensional electrophoresis. Multivariate analyses were used to isolate a panel of proteins which distinguish patient subgroups. Proteins were identified using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry with vitamin D binding protein (VDBP) expression and siaylation further verified by immunohistochemistry, ELISA test and immunoprecipitation. Candidate biomarkers were compared to conventional inflammation measure C-reactive protein (CRP). Sialic acid residues were enzymatically cleaved from immunopurified SF VDBP, enriched by hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC) and analysed by mass spectrometry.
Results Hierarchical clustering based on the expression levels of a set of 23 proteins segregated the extended-to-be oligoarticular from the oligoarticular patients. A cleaved isoform of VDBP, spot 873, is present at significantly reduced levels in the SF of oligoarticular patients at risk of disease extension, relative to other subgroups (p<0.05). Conversely total levels of vitamin D binding protein are elevated in plasma and ROC curves indicate an improved diagnostic sensitivity to detect patients at risk of disease extension, over both spot 873 and CRP levels. Sialysed forms of intact immunopurified VDBP were more prevalent in persistent oligoarticular patient synovial fluids.
Conclusions The data indicate that a subset of the synovial fluid proteome may be used to stratify patients to determine risk of disease extension. Reduced conversion of VDBP to a macrophage activation factor may represent a novel pathway contributing to increased risk of disease extension in JIA patients.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared