Kolassa, Iris-Tatjana

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Metabolite fingerprinting in posttraumatic stress disorder

2016, Koenig, Alexandra Maria, Karabatsiakis, Alexander, Wilker, Sarah, Hamuni, Gilava, Kolassa, Stephan, Renu, Durairaj, Kadereit, Suzanne, Schauer, Maggie, Hennessy, Thomas, Kolassa, Iris-Tatjana

Background: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with an increased risk for adverse physical health outcomes. However, the underlying biomolecular processes and associated pathways remain to be further elucidated. The metabolome represents all detectable small bioactive molecules (metabolites) in a given biological sample. Metabolites are the ultimate products of environmentally shaped gene expression and protein activity and are hence closely linked with the individual health status. The untargeted and holistic investigation of the metabolome (termed metabolite fingerprinting) in biological samples might lead to novel insights in PTSD pathophysiology.

Methods: Serum samples from 20 individuals with PTSD and 18 healthy controls were analyzed by liquid chromatography coupled to a Quadrupole/Time-Of-Flight (TOF) mass spectrometer. Groups were matched based on age and ethnicity. Univariate and multivariate approaches, namely Partial Least Square Discriminant Analysis (PLS-DA), were applied for statistical analyses.

Results: The group comparison revealed 13 metabolites, which were significantly altered in PTSD, including four glycerophospholipids and one metabolite involved in endocannabinoid signaling. In the multivariate approach, a metabolite profile of 19 biomolecules predicted PTSD status with an accuracy of 85%.

Conclusions: This study illustrates the potential of metabolite fingerprinting for the identification of novel, trauma and stress-associated pathophysiological underpinning and further provides the possibility to highlight associated biomolecular pathways, such as lipid-derived and endocannabinoid signaling in PTSD.