Deep phenotyping of synovial molecular signatures by integrative systems analysis in rheumatoid arthritis.

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RA encompasses a complex, heterogeneous and dynamic group of diseases arising from molecular and cellular perturbations of synovial tissues. The aim of this study was to decipher this complexity using an integrative systems approach and provide novel insights for designing stratified treatments.An RNA sequencing dataset of synovial tissues from 152 RA patients and 28 normal controls was imported and subjected to filtration of differentially expressed genes, functional enrichment and network analysis, non-negative matrix factorization, and key driver analysis. A naïve Bayes classifier was applied to the independent datasets to investigate the factors associated with treatment outcome.A matrix of 1241 upregulated differentially expressed genes from RA samples was classified into three subtypes (C1-C3) with distinct molecular and cellular signatures. C3 with prominent immune cells and proinflammatory signatures had a stronger association with the presence of ACPA and showed a better therapeutic response than C1 and C2, which were enriched with neutrophil and fibroblast signatures, respectively. C2 was more occupied by synovial fibroblasts of destructive phenotype and carried highly expressed key effector molecules of invasion and osteoclastogenesis. CXCR2, JAK3, FYN and LYN were identified as key driver genes in C1 and C3. HDAC, JUN, NFKB1, TNF and TP53 were key regulators modulating fibroblast aggressiveness in C2.Deep phenotyping of synovial heterogeneity captured comprehensive and discrete pathophysiological attributes of RA regarding clinical features and treatment response. This result could serve as a template for future studies to design stratified approaches for RA patients.

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