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Katherine Sumarriva, Karan Uppal, Chunyu Ma, David J. Herren, Yating Wang, Isaac M. Chocron, Cassandra Warden, Sabrina L. Mitchell, L. Goodwin Burgess, Megan P. Goodale, Melissa P. Osborn, Allison J. Ferreira, Janice C. Law, Edward F. Cherney, Dean P. Jones, Milam A. Brantley; Arginine and Carnitine Metabolites Are Altered in Diabetic Retinopathy. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(8):3119-3126. doi: 10.1167/iovs.19-27321.
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To determine plasma metabolite and metabolic pathway differences between patients with type 2 diabetes with diabetic retinopathy (DR) and without retinopathy (diabetic controls), and between patients with proliferative DR (PDR) and nonproliferative DR (NPDR).
Using high-resolution mass spectrometry with liquid chromatography, untargeted metabolomics was performed on plasma samples from 83 DR patients and 90 diabetic controls. Discriminatory metabolic features were identified through partial least squares discriminant analysis, and linear regression was used to adjust for age, sex, diabetes duration, and hemoglobin A1c. Pathway analysis was performed using Mummichog 2.0.
In the adjusted analysis, 126 metabolic features differed significantly between DR patients and diabetic controls. Pathway analysis revealed alterations in the metabolism of amino acids, leukotrienes, niacin, pyrimidine, and purine. Arginine, citrulline, glutamic γ-semialdehyde, and dehydroxycarnitine were key contributors to these pathway differences. A total of 151 features distinguished PDR patients from NPDR patients, and pathway analysis revealed alterations in the β-oxidation of saturated fatty acids, fatty acid metabolism, and vitamin D3 metabolism. Carnitine was a major contributor to the pathway differences.
This study demonstrates that arginine and citrulline-related pathways are dysregulated in DR, and fatty acid metabolism is altered in PDR patients compared with NPDR patients.
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