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Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a common inflammatory rheumatic disease with a predilection for the axial skeleton, affecting 0.2% of the population. Current diagnostic criteria rely on a composite of clinical and radiological changes, with a mean time to diagnosis of 5 to 10 years. In this study we employed nano liquid-chromatography mass spectrometry analysis to detect and quantify proteins and small compounds including endogenous peptides and metabolites in serum from 18 AS patients and nine healthy individuals. We identified a total of 316 proteins in serum, of which 22 showed significant up- or down-regulation (p < 0.05) in AS patients. Receiver operating characteristic analysis of combined levels of serum amyloid P component and inter-α-trypsin inhibitor heavy chain 1 revealed high diagnostic value for Ankylosing Spondylitis (area under the curve = 0.98). We also depleted individual sera of proteins to analyze endogenous peptides and metabolic compounds. We detected more than 7000 molecular features in patients and healthy individuals. Quantitative MS analysis revealed compound profiles that correlate with the clinical assessment of disease activity. One molecular feature identified as a Vitamin D3 metabolite-(23S,25R)-25-hydroxyvitamin D3 26,23-peroxylactone-was down-regulated in AS. The ratio of this vitamin D metabolite versus vitamin D binding protein serum levels was also altered in AS as compared with controls. These changes may contribute to pathological skeletal changes in AS. Our study is the first example of an integration of proteomic and metabolomic techniques to find new biomarker candidates for the diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Cell Proteomics

Publication Date





Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Biomarkers, Blood Proteins, Case-Control Studies, Chromatography, Liquid, Female, Humans, Male, Metabolomics, Middle Aged, Proteomics, Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization, Spondylitis, Ankylosing