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2nd Edition of International Precision Medicine Conference

April 21-23, 2022

April 21 -23, 2022 | Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
2021 Speakers

The Role of Metabolomics in Precision Medicine of Osteoarthritis: Where Are We Now?

Guangju Zhai, Speaker at
Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
Title : The Role of Metabolomics in Precision Medicine of Osteoarthritis: Where Are We Now?


The wide heterogeneity of osteoarthritis (OA) is the biggest challenge for classifying OA, predicting disease progression and developing effective therapeutics. Present OA clinical classifications fail to subset the disease and this results in inconsistent response to therapeutics. This is most likely due to the fact that the different OA clinical phenotypes consist of overlapping molecular endotypes, which are yet to be defined. The application of metabolomics approach in our research has generated much promising results. Specifically, we found that the conversion pathway of phosphatidylcholines (PCs) to lysophosphatidylcholines (lysoPCs) was overactivated in OA patients and plasma/serum lysoPCs to PCs ratio was significantly associated with OA risk. Patients with higher plasma lysoPCs to PCs ratio was 2.3 times more likely to undergo total knee joint replacement surgery in 10 years follow-up. The ratio was also significantly associated with knee cartilage volume loss measured by MRI over two years, and the ratio can predict who would respond well to symptomatic drugs including licofelone and naproxen. We found that high blood phenylalanine level was associated with both unilateral and bilateral radiographic knee OA progression in 5 years follow-up. Thus, OA patients should be advised to avoid any food/drinks containing large amount of aspartame which could raise blood phenylalanine levels. Arginine deficiency was also found in OA patients, suggesting arginine supplement may help slow down OA progression. Total joint replacement therapy (TJR) is by far the most effective treatment for end-stage OA patients, however, up to one third of TJR patients either do not achieve symptomatic improvement or deteriorate after TJR. We found that three metabolic ratios (C2 to PC ae C40:1, PC aa C36:4, and glutamine to isoleucine) related to inflammation and muscle breakdown could predict non-responders to TJR. More recently, we found in a large OA cohort that OA had at least three distinct endotypes characterized by different metabolic markers. The results are novel and have potential in developing precision medicine tools for OA management.


Dr. Guangju Zhai is Full Professor at Division of Biomedical Sciences (Genetics), Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. He is also an adjunct senior researcher at Menzies Research Institute, University of Tasmania, Australia. He has over 20 years research experience primarily on osteoarthritis with more than 110 original scientific research publications in major medical journals and has a h-index of 60. He established the Newfoundland Osteoarthritis Study (NFOAS: https://www.med.mun.ca/NFOAS/Home.aspx), which has a primary goal of creating a biobank of human joint tissues and has produced a world-class resource to support multiple osteoarthritis projects and attract national and international collaborators. His research is largely supported by Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He is the recipient of the President’s Award for Outstanding Research in 2017-2018.