Wu T, et al., Metabolic Disturbances Associated with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. PLoS ONE, 2012. 7(6): e37210.


Metabolonresults led to:

  • New therapeutic targets
  • New biomarkers
  • A potential treatment via dietary correction

Key metabolomicobservations:

  • Major changes related to inflammation and oxidative stress
  • Metabolic changes suggesting dysregulated energy metabolism

Systemic lupus erythematosus(SLE) is a highly diverse autoimmune disease. Reliable and specific biomarkers hinder clinical management and the development of new therapies. Metabolomicanalysis of plasma from SLE subjects discovered biomarkers with remarkably high sensitivity and specificity compared to normal subjects or subjects with Rheumatoid arthritis (another pro-inflammatory, chronic systemic autoimmune disease). These results were then validated in an independent assay and cohort. Oxidized lipids were among the top differentiating metabolites and they also correlated well with disease grade. Many of the markers intuitively connect to the clinical features of the disease. For example, it is likely that the lipid peroxidationmarkers are a combination of the impaired beta-oxidation of fatty acids (and the reported lower energy status of SLE subjects) and the oxidative stress associated with the disease.

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