Biomarkers for Distinguishing Rheumatoid Arthritis From Osteoarthritis

In an article recently published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, researchers attempted to uncover biomarkers for distinguishing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) from osteoarthritis (OA). Based on analyses of genomic datasets, primary investigator, Le Kang, and colleagues from the Affiliated Dongyang Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University in Dongyang, Zhejiang, China, presented “17 potential markers in the synovial tissue for discriminating RA from OA with good sensitivity and specificity,” with ADAMDEC1 performing the best.

The researchers collected microarray and RNA sequencing data from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database. The primary endpoint of the analyses was to identify differently expressed genes (DEGs) that could inform a genetic profile capable of distinguishing RA from OA.

According to the study’s authors, RA samples exhibited 14 upregulated and three downregulated genes compared to OA samples. Furthermore, “gene ontology analysis indicated the DEGs principally included molecules responsible for the regulation of a synovial tissue inflammatory response.” The investigators observed seven genes with an area under curve (AUC) above 0.90, indicating “good discriminatory power.” Specifically, ADAMDEC1 was the best marker for distinguishing rheumatoid arthritis from osteoarthritis with an AUC of 0.999, a sensitivity of 100%, and a specificity of 97.8%. In a follow-up validation phase, RA patients demonstrated significantly higher ADAMDEC1 expression levels in their synovial fluid compared to those in patients with OA (p <0.05).

Ultimately, the authors advanced that “ADAMDEC1 was found to be powerful enough to detect RA lesions even in patients who received joint replacement,” supporting its feasibility of a potential biomarker for diagnosing, predicting prognosis, and distinguishing RA from OA.