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Anal Chem. 2020 Mar 24. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.9b05460. [Epub ahead of print]

NormAE: Deep Adversarial Learning Model to Remove Batch Effects in Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry-Based Metabolomics Data.

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Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Harbin Medical University, Harbin 150086, China.
Interdisciplinary Research Center on Biology and Chemistry, Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, 200032, China.


Untargeted metabolomics based on liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry is affected by nonlinear batch effects, which cover up biological effects, result in nonreproducibility, and are difficult to be calibrate. In this study, we propose a novel deep learning model, called Normalization Autoencoder (NormAE), which is based on nonlinear autoencoders (AEs) and adversarial learning. An additional classifier and ranker are trained to provide adversarial regularization during the training of the AE model, latent representations are extracted by the encoder, and then the decoder reconstructs the data without batch effects. The NormAE method was tested on two real metabolomics data sets. After calibration by NormAE, the quality control samples (QCs) for both data sets gathered most closely in a PCA score plot (average distances decreased from 56.550 and 52.476 to 7.383 and 14.075, respectively) and obtained the highest average correlation coefficients (from 0.873 and 0.907 to 0.997 for both). Additionally, NormAE significantly improved biomarker discovery (median number of differential peaks increased from 322 and 466 to 1140 and 1622, respectively). NormAE was compared with four commonly used batch effect removal methods. The results demonstrated that using NormAE produces the best calibration results.

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