Pregnancy and Food-Related Metabolites

Metabolomics Britz-McKibbin food biomarkers

Open access publication in Nutrients showcases dietary and non-dietary food-related metabolites during pregnancy. The purpose of the study “Sources of Variation in Food-Related Metabolites during Pregnancy” was to examine the associations of non-dietary factors with serum metabolite concentrations in pregnant women, and to determine the extent to which non-dietary factors explain the variability in the concentrations of the biomarkers of food intake. Non-dietary factors included demographics (two ethnically diverse groups were involved in the study), lifestyle, and pregnancy- related factors.

Biomarkers can provide a more objective assessment of food exposures than self-reported dietary intake. (See also Dr. McKibbin previously discussed publication on iodine deficiency.) Further, many putative biomarkers of food intake do not exclusively originate from a single food or nutrient. Even more, the human metabolome exhibits variability due to intrinsic physiologic characteristics, such as age, sex, hormonal levels, and the gut microbiome, as well as due to extrinsic factors, such as habitual diet and lifestyle. Consequently, it is important to identify potential non-dietary sources of food-related biomarkers and examine the extent to which these factors explain differences in metabolite concentration.

Targeted and nontargeted profiling of polar/ionic metabolites in serum samples was performed with a validated multiplexed separation platform based on multisegment injection–capillary electrophoresis–mass spectrometry (MSI-CE-MS). A total of over 60 polar ionic metabolites from serum filtrate samples satisfied selection criteria for studied cohorts, and 53 of these were measured consistently in this study.

Overall, the results emphasize that serum metabolites that reflect specific foods are also influenced by non-dietary factors (ethnicity, maternal age, gestational age, pre-pregnancy BMI, physical activity, and smoking history) but to differing degrees.

This study was performed with the support of TMIC McMaster University Node led by Professor Philip Britz-McKibbin.

Dr. Britz-McKibbin, Metabolomics TMIC

Dr. Britz-McKibbin Node provides the following targeted and untargeted metabolomics services:

  • Targeted Analysis of Polar Metabolites utilizing a multi-segment injection (MSI) capillary electrophoresis TOF MS. This is a high sample throughput assay for the identification and quantification of a wide range of polar metabolites ideal for large scale studies, ionic metabolites and low volume samples (<5 uL or < 5 mg dried weight). Depending on the sample type, it allows profiling of 50-200 metabolites.
  • Targeted Analysis of Fatty Acids using nonaqueous capillary electrophoresis TOF MS (NACE- MS). This service allows measurement of free (nonesterified) fatty acids with in a high sample throughput format (24 metabolites with absolute quantification).
  • Targeted Analysis of Major Electrolytes/(In)organic Ions with CE-UV or CE-iUV (indirect UV). The assay offers measurement of 20 major electrolytes, including those with low ionization energy.
  • Targeted Analysis of Drugs of Abuse and Cannabinoid Metabolites using multi-segment injection (MSI) capillary electrophoresis TOF MS. This service allows identification and quantification of over 70 illicit and prescribed drugs (and their metabolites) in urine in < 3 min/sample.
  • High Throughput Global Metabolomics by MSI-CE-MS For Large Scale Epidemiological and Clinical Studies. This service aims at providing high throughput yet nontargeted metabolomic analyses that is optimal for large-scale epidemiological and clinical studies (n > 1000) with stringent quality control. It allows to profile 60-300 authentic metabolites, lipids or drugs.

The summary is prepared by Dr. S. Sapelnikova

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