Adipocytokines and achievement of low disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis

Joshua F. Baker, Bryant R. England, Michael D. George, Katherine Wysham, Tate Johnson, Aleksander Lenert, Gary Kunkel, Brian Sauer, Michael J. Duryee, Paul Monach, Gail Kerr, Andreas Reimold, Geoffrey M. Thiele, Ted R. Mikuls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine if adipocytokines are independently associated with the achievement of low disease activity (LDA) over long-term follow-up in a large rheumatoid arthritis (RA) registry. Methods: This cohort study evaluated adults with RA from the Veteran's Affairs RA Registry. Adipocytokines (adiponectin, leptin, and fibroblast growth factor [FGF]-21) and inflammatory cytokines were measured as part of a multi-analyte panel on banked serum from enrollment. Covariates were derived from medical record, biorepository, and registry databases. Multivariable Cox proportional hazard models evaluated associations between adipocytokines and rates of 1) DAS28 LDA and remission, 2) individual Boolean remission criteria and 3) initiation of a new bDMARD or tsDMARD. Results: There were 1,276 participants with a DAS28 >3.2 at enrollment. Of these, 827 achieved LDA and 598 achieved remission over 2,287 and 4,096 person-years, respectively. Patients in the highest quartile of adiponectin had lower rates LDA before and after adjustment [aHR Q4: 0.68 (0.53,0.87) p<0.001]. Those in the highest quartile of leptin and FGF-21 also had lower rates of LDA. Higher quartiles of adipocytokines were also associated with lower rates of achieving a low patient/evaluator global scores and low tender joint counts. Among 1,236 biologic-naïve participants, values above the median for adiponectin [HR: 1.67 (1.23,1.26) p = 0.001] and FGF-21 [HR: 1.27 (1.09,1.47) p = 0.002] were associated with a greater likelihood of initiating a b/tsDMARD. Conclusions: Adipocytokines may serve as prognostic biomarkers of a more severe RA disease course. Additional study is needed to determine whether adipocytokines are phenotypic markers or whether they actively promote disease progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number152003
JournalSeminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Adipocytokines
  • Biomarkers
  • Disease activity
  • Remission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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