Metabolomic Profile of Amniotic Fluid and Wheezing in the First Year of Life—A Healthy Birth Cohort Study

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Abstract

Objectives

To apply metabolomic analysis of amniotic fluid in a discovery cohort to see whether a specific biochemical-metabolic profile at birth is associated with the subsequent onset of wheezing over the first year of life.

Study design

This prospective exploratory study was conducted in a healthy term-born Dutch cohort recruited at 2 hospitals in Utrecht (UMCU, Utrecht, and Diakonessenhuis, Utrecht), The Netherlands. A metabolomic approach based on mass spectrometry was applied to analyze 142 amniotic fluid samples collected at birth. The infants were followed up during their first year of life with recording any respiratory symptoms daily, and they were classified according to the onset of wheezing.

Results

Orthogonally constrained projection to latent structures discriminant analysis was used to investigate differences in the metabolic profiles of the infants with (n = 86) and without (n = 56) wheezing. A search of the available databases for amniotic fluid metabolites identified by stability selection, combined with pathway analysis, highlighted the possible metabolic perturbations involved in this condition. The model built using 16 relevant variables with plausible biological significance, showed an area under the curve of 0.82 (P < .001) and an area under the curve calculated by 7-fold full cross-validation of 0.72 (P = .003), with the steroid hormone biosynthesis and the 2-phenylalanine metabolism emerging as probably perturbed pathways.

Conclusions

Infants who will or will not experience wheezing in their first year of life have distinct amniotic fluid metabolomic profiles at birth. Changes occurring in biochemical-metabolic pathways in late intrauterine life may have a pathogenic role in early-onset wheezing.

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