Precise Metabolomics Reveals a Diversity of Aging-Associated Metabolic Features

He Tian, Zhen Ni, Sin Man Lam, Wenxi Jiang, Fengjuan Li, Jie Du, Yuan Wang, Guanghou Shui

Small Methods
DOI: 10.1002/smtd.202200130


Mass spectrometry-based metabolomics has emerged as a powerful technique for biomedical research, although technical issues with its analytical precision and structural characterization remain. Herein, a robust non-targeted strategy for accurate quantitation and precise profiling of metabolomes is developed and applied to investigate plasma metabolic features associated with human aging. A comprehensive set of isotope-labeled standards (ISs) covering major metabolic pathways is incorporated to quantify polar metabolites. Matching rules to select ISs for calibration follow a primary criterion of minimal coefficients of variations (COVs). If minimal COVs between specific ISs for a particular metabolite fall within 5% window, a further selection of ISs is conducted based on structural similarities and proximity in retention time. The introduction and refined selection of appropriate ISs for quantitation reduces the COVs of 480 identified metabolites in quality control samples from 14.3% to 9.8% and facilitates identification of additional metabolite. Finally, the precise metabolomics approach reveals perturbations in a diverse array of metabolic pathways across aging that principally implicate steroid metabolism, amino acid metabolism, lipid metabolism, and purine metabolism, which allows the authors to draw correlates to the pathology of various age-related diseases. These findings provide clues for the prevention and treatment of these age-related diseases.