Heterogeneity of Lipid and Protein Cartilage Profiles Associated with Human Osteoarthritis with or without Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

J Proteome Res. 2021 May 7;20(5):2973-2982. doi: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.1c00186. Epub 2021 Apr 17.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a multifactorial pathology and comprises a wide range of distinct phenotypes. In this context, the characterization of the different molecular profiles associated with each phenotype can improve the classification of OA. In particular, OA can coexist with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). This study investigates lipidomic and proteomic differences between human OA/T2DM- and OA/T2DM+ cartilage through a multimodal mass spectrometry approach. Human cartilage samples were obtained after total knee replacement from OA/T2DM- and OA/T2DM+ patients. Label-free proteomics was employed to study differences in protein abundance and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) for spatially resolved-lipid analysis. Label-free proteomic analysis showed differences between OA/T2DM- and OA/T2DM+ phenotypes in several metabolic pathways such as lipid regulation. Interestingly, phospholipase A2 protein was found increased within the OA/T2DM+ cohort. In addition, MALDI-MSI experiments revealed that phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin species were characteristic of the OA/T2DM- group, whereas lysolipids were more characteristic of the OA/T2DM+ phenotype. The data also pointed out differences in phospholipid content between superficial and deep layers of the cartilage. Our study shows distinctively different lipid and protein profiles between OA/T2DM- and OA/T2DM+ human cartilage, demonstrating the importance of subclassification of the OA disease for better personalized treatments.

Keywords: MALDI-MSI; cartilage; diabetes; label-free proteomics; osteoarthritis; spatially resolved-lipid analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cartilage, Articular* / diagnostic imaging
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2*
  • Humans
  • Lipids
  • Osteoarthritis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Proteomics
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization


  • Lipids