Background: Childhood obesity is often associated with insulin resistance (IR), which is a key risk factor for the development of comorbidities. The etiologic relation between insulin resistance and obesity is still not completely understood.
Objective: In this study a multiplatform metabolomics approach was applied for the first time to elucidate the metabolic alterations in obese children with or without IR. Metabolomics is the revolutionary strategy of the last century capable of interpreting the interaction of the genetic and environmental factors by studying the final effectors of a process.
Methods: Plasma from 60 prepubertal obese children between 5 and 13 years, 30 males and 30 females, which were insulin (n=30) or non-insulin resistant (n=30) were analyzed by using LC-ESI-MS-QTOF, GC-EI-MS-Q and CE-ESI-MS-QTOF (Agilent, USA) in a non-targeted approach. Together the three techniques provided information about several thousand compounds.
Results: Once the valuable information from the analytical data was mined, the two groups were compared and 85 significant differences (P value <0.05) were unveiled. Subtle differences existed between groups that were magnified when comparisons between sexes were made. Bile acids and their derivatives represented the most prominent changes indicating the influence of the gut microbiota on the host metabolism. In addition, branched-chain amino acids, lactic acid, pyruvic acid, lysophophocholine, and decanamide were significantly different. These are usually altered in obesity and our results suggest they may have a possible function in the predisposition towards complications such as IR.
Conclusion: This study reveals the potential of metabolomics to highlight unexpected pre-pubertal sex differences and to detect subtle differences between two conditions highly linked but not unequivocally correlated to the onset of comorbidities, which could help to elucidate processes in their early stage where the preventive action could play an essential role.
20 - 22 Sep 2014
European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology