Proteomics Profiling of Human Synovial Fluid Suggests Increased Protein Interplay in Early-Osteoarthritis (OA) That Is Lost in Late-Stage OA

Mol Cell Proteomics. 2022 Mar;21(3):100200. doi: 10.1016/j.mcpro.2022.100200. Epub 2022 Jan 21.


The underlying molecular mechanisms in osteoarthritis (OA) development are largely unknown. This study explores the proteome and the pairwise interplay of proteins 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 versus controls than late-stage OA versus controls. For most of these proteins, the fold changes between late-stage OA versus controls and early-stage OA versus 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 interplay between the protein machinery is increased in early-OA and lost in late-stage OA. Further efforts should focus on earlier stages of the disease than previously considered.

Keywords: DIA; early- and late-stage OA; osteoarthritis; proteomics; synovial fluid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee* / metabolism
  • Proteome / metabolism
  • Proteomics / methods
  • Synovial Fluid* / chemistry


  • Proteome