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09-10-2017 | Rheumatoid arthritis | Article

Serum serotonin levels and bone in rheumatoid arthritis patients

Rheumatology International

Authors: Miguel Bernardes, Tiago Vieira, Raquel Lucas, Jorge Pereira, Lúcia Costa, Francisco Simões-Ventura, Maria João Martins

Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg


In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a disease characterized by bone loss, increased levels of serotonin have been reported. Recent studies have demonstrated a role for circulating serotonin as a regulator of osteoblastogenesis, inhibiting bone formation. Thus, we measured serum serotonin levels (SSL) in a Portuguese sample of 205 RA patients and related these to anthropometric variables, disease parameters, serum bone biomarkers, and bone mineral density (BMD) assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry at several sites (total proximal femur, lumbar spine, left hand, and left second proximal phalange). SSL were inversely associated with body mass index (BMI) in RA women (r = − 0.218; p = 0.005), independent of exposure to biologics and/or bisphosphonates. Among biologic naïves, there was an inverse association between SSL and osteoprotegerin in RA women (r = − 0.260; p = 0.022). Serum β-CTX and dickkopf-1 were strongly associated with SSL in RA men not treated with bisphosphonates (r = 0.590; p < 0.001/r = 0.387; p = 0.031, respectively). There was also an inverse association between SSL and sclerostin in RA men (r = − 0.374; p < 0.05), stronger among biologic naïve or bisphosphonates-unexposed RA men. In crude models, SSL presented as a significant negative predictor of total proximal femur BMD in RA women as well as in postmenopausal RA women. After adjustment for BMI, disease duration, and years of menopause, SSL remained a significant negative predictor of total proximal femur BMD only in postmenopausal RA women. Our data reinforce a role, despite weak, for circulating serotonin in regulating bone mass in RA patients, with some differences in terms of gender and anatomical sites.

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