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    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-term autoimmune condition that causes joint and surrounding tissue inflammation. Lipid mediators are involved in inflammation and deterioration of the joints. Despite attempts to discover effective drug targets to intervene with lipid metabolism in the disease, progress has been limited. In this study, precise lipidomic technology was employed to quantify a broad range of serum ceramides and sphingomyelin (SM) in a large cohort, revealing an association between the accumulation of circulating ceramides and disturbed ceramide/SM cycles during the progression of RA. In our investigation, we discovered that eight ceramides exhibited a positive correlation with the activity of RA, thereby enhancing the accuracy of RA diagnosis, particularly in patients with serum antibody-negative RA. Furthermore, the enzyme SM phosphodiesterase 3 (SMPD3) was found to disrupt the circulating SM cycle and accelerate the progression of RA. The activity of SMPD3 can be inhibited by methotrexate, resulting in decreased metabolic conversion of SM to ceramide. These findings suggest that targeting the SM cycle may provide a new therapeutic option for RA.


    Hemi Luan, Shuailong Chen, Longshan Zhao, Shijia Liu, Tiangang Luan. Precise Lipidomics Decipher Circulating Ceramide and Sphingomyelin Cycle Associated with the Progression of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Journal of proteome research. 2023 Dec 01;22(12):3893-3900

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    PMID: 37883661

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