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Analyst. 2011 Nov 21;136(22):4752-63. doi: 10.1039/c1an15590c. Epub 2011 Sep 16.

Development of an integrated metabolomic profiling approach for infectious diseases research.

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The Center for Women's Infectious Disease Research (cWIDR), Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Metabolomic profiling offers direct insights into the chemical environment and metabolic pathway activities at sites of human disease. During infection, this environment may receive important contributions from both host and pathogen. Here we apply an untargeted metabolomics approach to identify compounds associated with an E. coli urinary tract infection population. Correlative and structural data from minimally processed samples were obtained using an optimized LC-MS platform capable of resolving ~2300 molecular features. Principal component analysis readily distinguished patient groups and multiple supervised chemometric analyses resolved robust metabolomic shifts between groups. These analyses revealed nine compounds whose provisional structures suggest candidate infection-associated endocrine, catabolic, and lipid pathways. Several of these metabolite signatures may derive from microbial processing of host metabolites. Overall, this study highlights the ability of metabolomic approaches to directly identify compounds encountered by, and produced from, bacterial pathogens within human hosts.

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