Journal Articles

Human gouty arthritis is associated with a distinct serum trace elemental profile

March 11, 2012

Human gouty arthritis is associated with a distinct serum trace elemental profile. Metallomics, March 2012. Elaine Holmes, James Kinross, Glenn R. Gibson, Remy Burcelin, Wei Jia, Sven Pettersson, and Jeremy K. Nicholson.

UNC Greensboro Center for Research Excellence in BioActive Food Components and David H. Murdock Research Institute.


Homeostatic imbalance of essential trace elements is deeply involved in many pathophysiological states, especially in joint disorders such as gout. A total of 64 elements were measured in the serum samples in three regionally independent groups of patients with gouty arthritis (n = 100) and an age-matched healthy control group (n = 40) by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). A distinct elemental profile of gouty arthritis encompassing significantly altered Li, Al, Ti, Fe, Cu, Se, Sr, Ta, Hg, Bi, Th, and U was obtained with a sensitivity of 0.97 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.92-0.99) and a specificity of 0.95 (95% CI: 0.83-0.99) for gout diagnosis. An independent group of 52 subjects (39 gout patients and 13 healthy controls) was further used to validate the elemental signature, yielding a sensitivity of 1.00 (95% CI: 0.91-1.00) and a specificity of 1.00 (95% CI: 0.75-1.00) for gout prediction. It is also noteworthy that we were able to achieve ≥95.7% correct classification rate in both discovery and validation groups using only three elemental markers, Li, Al, and U. We also observed a good correlation between Li, Zn, and Cu and the other two risk factors, age and serum urate concentration, in gout patients. Our findings underscore that gouty arthritis possesses a unique elemental expression profile regardless of many other nutritional and environmental factors.

This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2012

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