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Mol Biosyst. 2005 Jul;1(2):166-75. Epub 2005 Apr 22.

The metabonomics of aging and development in the rat: an investigation into the effect of age on the profile of endogenous metabolites in the urine of male rats using 1H NMR and HPLC-TOF MS.

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Department of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Mereside, Alderley Park, Macclesfield, UKSK10 4TG.


The effect of aging and development in male Wistar-derived rats on the profile of endogenous metabolites excreted in the urine was investigated using both (1)H NMR spectroscopy and HPLC-TOF MS using electrospray ionisation (ESI). The endogenous metabolites were profiled in samples collected from male rats every two weeks from just after weaning at 4 weeks up to 20 weeks of age. Multivariate data analysis enabled clusters to be visualised within the data according to age, with urine collected at 4 and 6 weeks showing the greatest differences by both analytical techniques. Markers detected by (1)H NMR spectroscopy included creatinine, taurine, hippurate and resonances associated with amino acids/fatty acids, which increased with age, whilst citrate and resonances resulting from glucose/myoinositol declined. A number of ions were detected by HPLC-MS that were only present in urine samples at 4 weeks of age in both positive and negative ESI, with a range of ions, including e.g. carnitine, increasing with age. Age predictions by PLS-regression modelling demonstrated an age-related trend within these data, between 4 and 12 weeks for HPLC-MS and 4-16 weeks for NMR. The possible utility of these techniques for metabonomic investigations of age-related changes in the rat is discussed and the importance of employing suitable control animals in pharmacological and toxicological studies is highlighted.

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