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Joint disorders form a serious health problem that can be expected to become increasingly important in the near future given current demographic trends. Acute joint problems, mostly on a traumatic basis, are frequent in young, active persons and a main cause of untimely retreat for athletes; in the elderly joint disorders, mainly in the form of osteoarthritis (OA), are the leading cause of disability and the (already high) prevalence is expected to double by 2020. Various classes of lipids are involved in joint homeostasis as either arachidonic acid derived lipid mediators or as structural (membrane-derived) lipids and hence can be presumed to be most revealing about ongoing events in the joint.

In a targeted lipidomics approach, we investigated the simultaneous analysis of multiple eicosanoid lipid mediators in equine synovial fluid (SF), and to illustrate its use for investigation of the in vivo effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) treatment (de Grauw et al (2011) Arthritis Research & Therapy).

Figure: Total ion count (counts per second, or cps) versus time in a placebo-treated sample (top panel) at t = 8 hours after lipopolysaccharide and an 8-hour non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug-treated sample (bottom panel) from the same subject. Note the difference in scales on the y-axes between top and bottom panels (de Grauw et al (2011) Arthritis Research & Therapy).

EU project

Our Department participates in this European initiative to establish high-throughput methods to define drugable targets and novel biomarkers related to lipid droplet lipid and protein species, their interaction and regulation during assembly, disassembly and storage. The research groups study lipid protein interactions and investigate the dynamics of fat deposition and release in relevant cells as a hallmark of energy overload diseases with major health care impact in Europe.