Objective: To investigate the clinical relevance of synovial tissue subtypes in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and to search for peripheral blood (PB) markers that may serve as biomarkers for tissue subtypes.
Methods: Gene expression analysis using complementary DNA microarrays was applied on paired synovial tissue biopsy and PB samples obtained from 17 RA patients. Molecular tissue subtypes were correlated with histologic parameters (CD3, CD22, CD38, CD68, CD163, tumor necrosis factor alpha, intercellular adhesion molecule 1, vascular cell adhesion molecule, and E-selectin), disease characteristics, and PB markers. PANTHER classification was used for pathway analysis.
Results: Genomic subtyping of high- and low-inflammation rheumatoid synovial tissues based on gene expression profiles exactly matched immunohistochemical classification. The patients with the high-inflammation tissue type had higher Disease Activity Scores in 28 joints, higher C-reactive protein levels, higher erythrocyte sedimentation rates, increased numbers of platelets, and shorter disease durations. Comparative analysis of PB gene expression profiles yielded no statistically significant differences between the 2 tissue groups at the single-gene expression level. PANTHER pathway analysis revealed a significant association of increased protein biosynthesis with high-inflammation tissue.
Conclusion: High-inflammation tissue is associated with more severe disease and shorter disease duration. While pathway-level analysis revealed that coordinate differential expression of genes involved in protein synthesis in PB is associated with high-inflammation tissue types, differential tissue pathology was not reflected in the PB by differential expression of single genes.