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BBA Clin. 2017 Aug 19;8:48-55. doi: 10.1016/j.bbacli.2017.07.003. eCollection 2017 Dec.

Spontaneous miscarriage in first trimester pregnancy is associated with altered urinary metabolite profile.

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KK Women's and Children's Hospital, 100 Bukit Timah Road, 229899, Singapore.
School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, 60 Nanyang Drive, 637551, Singapore.
Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, 59 Nanyang Drive, 636921, Singapore.
Singapore Phenome Center, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, 59 Nanyang Drive, 636921, Singapore.
Centre for Quantitative Medicine, Duke-NUS Medical School, 20 College Road, Academia, 169856, Singapore.
Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, ASTAR, 61 Biopolis Drive, Proteos, 138673, Singapore.


Threatened miscarriage is the most common gynecological emergency, occurring in about 20% of pregnant women. Approximately one in four of these patients go on to have spontaneous miscarriage and the etiology of miscarriage still remains elusive. In a bid to identify possible biomarkers and novel treatment targets, many studies have been undertaken to elucidate the pathways that lead to a miscarriage. Luteal phase deficiency has been shown to contribute to miscarriages, and the measurement of serum progesterone as a prognostic marker and the prescription of progesterone supplementation has been proposed as possible diagnostic and treatment methods. However, luteal phase deficiency only accounts for 35% of miscarriages. In order to understand the other causes of spontaneous miscarriage and possible novel urine biomarkers for miscarriage, we looked at the changes in urinary metabolites in women with threatened miscarriage. To this end, we performed a case-control study of eighty patients who presented with threatened miscarriage between 6 and 10 weeks gestation. Urine metabolomics analyses of forty patients with spontaneous miscarriages and forty patients with ongoing pregnancies at 16 weeks gestation point to an impaired placental mitochondrial β-oxidation of fatty acids as the possible cause of spontaneous miscarriage. This study also highlighted the potential of urine metabolites as a non-invasive screening tool for the risk stratification of women presenting with threatened miscarriage.


Carnitines; Mass spectrometry; Spontaneous miscarriage; Urine metabolites

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