The association of the lipid profile with knee and hand osteoarthritis severity: the IMI-APPROACH cohort

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2022 Aug;30(8):1062-1069. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2022.05.008. Epub 2022 May 27.


Objective: To investigate the association of the lipidomic profile with osteoarthritis (OA) severity, considering the outcomes radiographic knee and hand OA, pain and function.

Design: We used baseline data from the Applied Public-Private Research enabling OsteoArthritis Clinical Headway (APPROACH) cohort, comprising persons with knee OA fulfilling the clinical American College of Rheumatology classification criteria. Radiographic knee and hand OA severity was quantified with Kellgren-Lawrence sum scores. Knee and hand pain and function were assessed with validated questionnaires. We quantified fasted plasma higher order lipids and oxylipins with liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)-based platforms. Using penalised linear regression, we assessed the variance in OA severity explained by lipidomics, with adjustment for clinical covariates (age, sex, body mass index (BMI) and lipid lowering medication), measurement batch and clinical centre.

Results: In 216 participants (mean age 66 years, mean BMI 27.3 kg/m2, 75% women) we quantified 603 higher order lipids (triacylglycerols, diacylglycerols, cholesteryl esters, ceramides, free fatty acids, sphingomyelins, phospholipids) and 28 oxylipins. Lipidomics explained 3% and 2% of the variance in radiographic knee and hand OA severity, respectively. Lipids were not associated with knee pain or function. Lipidomics accounted for 12% and 6% of variance in hand pain and function, respectively. The investigated OA severity outcomes were associated with the lipidomic fraction of bound and free arachidonic acid, bound palmitoleic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid and docosapentaenoic acid.

Conclusions: Within the APPROACH cohort lipidomics explained a minor portion of the variation in OA severity, which was most evident for the outcome hand pain. Our results suggest that eicosanoids may be involved in OA severity.

Keywords: Function; Lipids; Osteoarthritis; Pain; Radiography.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint
  • Male
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee*
  • Oxylipins*
  • Pain
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Oxylipins