Biomarkers and immunological parameters in haemophilia and rheumatoid arthritis patients: a comparative multiplexing laboratory study

Introduction: Haemophilia (HA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients may develop joint damage caused by recurrent joint bleedings in HA or by chronic inflammation in RA. Only few data exist for biomarker studies in these patients.

Aim: The objective of the present study is to assess a large array of biomarkers in peripheral blood samples obtained from HA patients without or with arthropathy and to compare pattern to RA patients and healthy controls.

Methods: A panel of biomarkers was assessed in 129 men (40 HA patients without arthropathy, 23 HA patients with arthropathy, 23 RA patients and 43 control subjects). 37 different biomarkers (cytokines, angiogenesis-related proteins) were analysed using a multiple analyte profiling technology and supplemented by acute phase proteins, coagulation and immunological parameters.

Results: Evidence for systemic inflammation was obtained by increased acute phase reactants in all patient groups. 13 or 14 from 42 soluble parameters demonstrated significant differences (p < .05) between HA patients without arthropathy and healthy controls, or between HA patients with arthropathy and healthy controls, respectively. Largely overlapping patterns were obtained except for interleukin-7 being increased in HA patients without arthropathy and being decreased in HA in the presence of arthropathy.

Conclusions: In addition to data supporting systemic inflammation, we provide evidence for a common biomarker profile in HA patients and RA patients compared to healthy controls. A distinctive biomarker profile for HA patients with arthropathy did not appear except for interleukin-7 demonstrating specific changes depending on the absence or presence of arthropathy in HA patients.

Keywords: biomarker study; haemophilic arthropathy; joint bleeding; rheumatoid arthritis.