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J Proteome Res. 2013 Jun 7;12(6):2914-20. doi: 10.1021/pr400204q. Epub 2013 May 17.

Metabolomics as a potential new approach for investigating human reproductive disorders.

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LUNAM Université, Oniris, Laboratoire d'Etude des Résidus et Contaminants dans les Aliments, USC INRA 1329, BP 50707, F-44307 Nantes Cedex 3, France.


Metabolomics has been emerging for several years as a global chemical phenotyping approach offering fascinating descriptive capabilities for addressing life complexity. It facilitates the understanding of the mechanisms of biological and biochemical processes in complex systems and promises new insights into specific research questions. The objective of this study was to use for the first time a metabolomic approach based on liquid chromatography high resolution mass spectrometry for characterizing an alteration of the testicular function, namely impaired semen quality. Metabolomic fingerprints were generated from serum samples collected from Danish young men presenting low, intermediate, or high sperm concentrations. Serum metabolic profiles were found to be significantly different among the three groups of volunteers. The developed methodology permitted to correlate the studied clinical parameter (i.e., sperm concentration) with the metabolite profiles generated. Peptides related to the Protein Complement C3f were identified as putative markers associated with this clinical parameter. The biological interpretation and further robustness linked to this observation remain to be further investigated, in particular to address the inter- and intraindividual variabilities.

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