Functional Characterization of Lysophospholipids by Proteomic and Lipidomic Analysis of Fibroblast-like Synoviocytes

Cells. 2023 Jun 29;12(13):1743. doi: 10.3390/cells12131743.


Synovial fluid (SF) from human knee joints with osteoarthritis (OA) has elevated levels of lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) species, but their functional role is not well understood. This in vitro study was designed to test the hypothesis that various LPCs found elevated in OA SF and their metabolites, lysophosphatidic acids (LPAs), modulate the abundance of proteins and phospholipids (PLs) in human fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs), with even minute chemical variations in lysophospholipids determining the extent of regulation. Cultured FLSs (n = 5-7) were treated with one of the LPC species, LPA species, IL-1β, or a vehicle. Tandem mass tag peptide labeling coupled with LC-MS/MS/MS was performed to quantify proteins. The expression of mRNA from regulated proteins was analyzed using RT-PCR. PL synthesis was determined via ESI-MS/MS, and the release of radiolabeled PLs was determined by means of liquid scintillation counting. In total, 3960 proteins were quantified using multiplexed MS, of which 119, 8, and 3 were significantly and reproducibly regulated by IL-1β, LPC 16:0, and LPC 18:0, respectively. LPC 16:0 significantly inhibited the release of PLs and the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine, LPC, and sphingomyelin. Neither LPC metabolite-LPA 16:0 nor LPA 18:0-had any reproducible effect on the levels of each protein. In conclusion, small chemical variations in LPC species can result in the significantly altered expression and secretion of proteins and PLs from FLSs. IL-1β influenced all proteins that were reproducibly regulated by LPC 16:0. LPC species are likely to modulate FLS protein expression only in more advanced OA stages with low IL-1β levels. None of the eight proteins being significantly regulated by LPC 16:0 have been previously reported in OA. However, our in vitro findings show that the CD81 antigen, calumenin, and B4E2C1 are promising candidates for further study, focusing in particular on their potential ability to modulate inflammatory and catabolic mechanisms.

Keywords: biosynthesis; efflux; fibroblast-like synoviocytes; functions; inflammation; lipidomics; lipids; lysophosphatidylcholine; lysophospholipid; orbitrap; osteoarthritis; phospholipids; proteomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipidomics
  • Lysophosphatidylcholines / metabolism
  • Lysophospholipids / metabolism
  • Osteoarthritis* / metabolism
  • Proteomics
  • Synoviocytes* / metabolism
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Lysophospholipids
  • Lysophosphatidylcholines