Mass spectrometry for high-throughput metabolomics analysis of urine

Abdelrazig, Salah M.A. (2015) Mass spectrometry for high-throughput metabolomics analysis of urine. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Direct electrospray ionisation-mass spectrometry (direct ESI-MS), by omitting the chromatographic step, has great potential for application as a high-throughput approach for untargeted urine metabolomics analysis compared to liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). The rapid development and technical innovations revealed in the field of ambient ionisation MS such as nanoelectrospray ionisation (nanoESI) chip-based infusion and liquid extraction surface analysis mass spectrometry (LESA-MS) suggest that they might be suitable for high-throughput metabolomics analysis.

In this thesis, LC-MS and high-throughput direct ESI-MS methods using high resolution orbital trap mass spectrometer were developed and validated for untargeted metabolomics of human urine. Three different direct ESI-MS techniques were explored and compared with LC-MS: flow injection electrospray ionisation-MS (FIE-MS), chip-based infusion and LESA-MS of dried urine spots on a cell culture slide. A high-throughput sample preparation protocol was optimised using in-house artificial urine. Urine samples after consumption of green tea and healthy controls were used as a model to explore the performance and classification ability of the direct ESI-MS. High-throughput data pre-processing and multivariate analysis protocols were established for each method. The developed methods were finally applied for the analysis of clinical urine samples for biomarker discovery and to investigate the metabolic changes in osteoarthritis and malaria. Also, the methods were applied to study the effect of oligofructose diet on the gut microbial community of healthy subjects. The analytical performance of the methods for urine metabolomics was validated using quality control (QC) and principal component analysis (PCA) approaches. Rigorous validation including cross-validation, permutation test, prediction models and area under receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC) was performed across the generated datasets using the developed methods.

Analysis of green tea urine samples generated 4128, 748, 1064 and 1035 ions from LC-MS, FIE-MS, chip-based infusion and LESA-MS analysis, respectively. A selected set of known green tea metabolites in urine were used to evaluate each method for detection sensitivity. 15 metabolites were found with LC-MS compared to 8, 5 and 6 with FIE-MS, chip-based infusion and LESA, respectively.

The developed methods successfully differentiated between the metabolic profiles of osteoarthritis active patients and healthy controls (Q2 0.465 (LC-MS), 0.562 (FIE-MS), 0.472 (chip-based infusion) and 0.493 (LESA-MS)). The altered level of metabolites detected in osteoarthritis patients showed a perturbed activity in TCA cycle, pyruvate metabolism, -oxidation pathway, amino acids and glycerophospholipids metabolism, which may provide evidence of mitochondrial dysfunction, inflammation, oxidative stress, collagen destruction and use of lipolysis as an alternative energy source in the cartilage cells of osteoarthritis patients. FIE-MS, chip-based infusion and LESA-MS increased the analysis throughput and yet they were able to provide 33%, 44% and 44%, respectively, of the LC-MS information, indicating their great potential for diagnostic application in osteoarthritis.

Malaria samples datasets generated 9,744 and 576 ions from LC-MS and FIE-MS, respectively. Supervised multivariate analysis using OPLS-DA showed clear separation and clustering of malaria patients from controls in both LC-MS and FIE-MS methods. Cross-validation R2Y and Q2 values obtained by FIE-MS were 0.810 and 0.538, respectively, which are comparable to the values of 0.993 and 0.583 achieved by LC-MS. The sensitivity and specificity were 80% and 77% for LC-MS and FIE-MS, respectively, indicating valid, reliable and comparable results of both methods. With regards to biomarker discovery, altered level of 30 and 17 metabolites were found by LC-MS and FIE-MS, respectively, in the urine of malaria patients compared to healthy controls. Among these metabolites, pipecolic acid, taurine, 1,3-diacetylpropane, N-acetylspermidine and N-acetylputrescine may have the potential of being used as biomarkers of malaria.

LC-MS and FIE-MS were able to separate urine samples of healthy subjects on oligofructose diet from controls (specificity/sensitivity 80%/88% (LC-MS) and 71%/64% (FIE-MS)). An altered level of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), fatty acids and amino acids were observed in urine as a result of oligofructose intake, suggesting an increased population of the health-promoting Bifidobacterium and a decreased Lactobacillus and Enterococcus genera in the colon.

In conclusion, the developed direct ESI-MS methods demonstrated the ability to differentiate between inherent types of urine samples in disease and health state. Therefore they are recommended to be used as fast diagnostic tools for clinical urine samples. The developed LC-MS method is necessary when comprehensive biomarker screening is required.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Barrett, D.A.
Ortori, C.A.
Subjects: R Medicine > RB Pathology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Pharmacy
Item ID: 30600
Depositing User: Abdelrazig, Salah
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2016 12:05
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2016 05:40

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