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PLoS One. 2014 May 20;9(5):e97773. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097773. eCollection 2014.

A metabolomic approach to animal vitreous humor topographical composition: a pilot study.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy.
Department of Chemical and Geological Sciences, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy.
Department of Public Health, Clinical and Molecular Medicine - Forensic Science Unit -University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy.
Department of Surgery, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy.
Institute of Public Health, Catholic University, Rome, Italy.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of a (1)H-NMR-based metabolomic approach to explore the metabolomic signature of different topographical areas of vitreous humor (VH) in an animal model. Five ocular globes were enucleated from five goats and immediately frozen at -80 °C. Once frozen, three of them were sectioned, and four samples corresponding to four different VH areas were collected: the cortical, core, and basal, which was further divided into a superior and an inferior fraction. An additional two samples were collected that were representative of the whole vitreous body. (1)H-NMR spectra were acquired for twenty-three goat vitreous samples with the aim of characterizing the metabolomic signature of this biofluid and identifying whether any site-specific patterns were present. Multivariate statistical analysis (MVA) of the spectral data were carried out, including Principal Component Analysis (PCA), Hierarchical Cluster Analysis (HCA), and Partial Least Squares Discriminant Analysis (PLS-DA). A unique metabolomic signature belonging to each area was observed. The cortical area was characterized by lactate, glutamine, choline, and its derivatives, N-acetyl groups, creatine, and glycerol; the core area was characterized by glucose, acetate, and scyllo-inositol; and the basal area was characterized by branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), betaine, alanine, ascorbate, lysine, and myo-inositol. We propose a speculative approach on the topographic role of these molecules that are mainly responsible for metabolic differences among the as-identified areas. (1)H-NMR-based metabolomic analysis has shown to be an important tool for investigating the VH. In particular, this approach was able to assess in the samples here analyzed the presence of different functional areas on the basis of a different metabolite distribution.

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