INTRODUCTION: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multifactorial autoimmune disease with heterogeneous clinical manifestations mediated by immune dysregulation.
OBJECTIVES: We aimed to analyze the metabolomic differences in free fatty acids (FFAs) between patients with SLE and healthy controls (HCs).
METHODS: In this study, the levels of 24 FFAs, as their tert-butyldimethylsilyl derivatives, in the plasma of 41 patients with SLE and 41 HCs, were investigated using gas chromatography with mass spectrometry in selected-ion monitoring mode.
RESULTS: The results showed that patients with SLE and HCs had significantly different levels of 13 of the 24 FFAs. The levels of myristic, palmitoleic, oleic, and eicosenoic acids were significantly higher, whereas the levels of caproic, caprylic, linoleic, stearic, arachidonic, eicosanoic, behenic, lignoceric, and hexacosanoic acids were significantly lower in patients with SLE, than in the HCs. In the partial-correlation analysis of the FFA profiles and markers of disease activity of SLE, several metabolic markers correlated with SLE disease activity.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results provide a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between FFAs and markers of SLE disease activity. Thus, this approach has promising potential for the discovery of metabolic biomarkers of SLE.
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