Proteomics profiling of human synovial fluid suggests global increased protein interplay in early-osteoarthritis (OA) and lost in late-stage OA
The underlying molecular mechanisms in osteoarthritis (OA) development are largely unknown. This study explores the proteome and the pairwise interplay of proteins on a global level in synovial fluid from patients with late-stage knee OA (arthroplasty), early knee OA (arthroscopy due to degenerative meniscal tear) and from deceased controls without knee OA. Synovial fluid samples were analyzed using state-of-the-art mass spectrometry with data-independent acquisition. The differential expression of the proteins detected was clustered and evaluated with data mining strategies and a multilevel model. Group-specific slopes of associations were estimated between expressions of each pair of identified proteins to assess the co-expression (i.e. interplay) between the proteins in each group. More proteins were increased in early-OA vs controls than late-stage OA vs controls. For most of these proteins, the fold changes between late-stage OA vs controls and early stage OA vs controls were remarkably similar suggesting potential involvement in the OA process. Further, for the first time this study illustrated distinct patterns in protein co-expression suggesting that the global interplay between the protein machinery is increased in early-OA and lost in late-stage OA. Further efforts should probably focus on earlier stages of the disease than previously considered. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
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