Characterising Alzheimer's disease through integrative NMR- and LC-MS-based metabolomics

Jonas Ellegaard Nielsen, Raluca Georgiana Maltesen, Jesper F. Havelund, Nils J. Færgeman, Charlotte Held Gotfredsen, Karsten Vestergård, Søren Risom Kristensen, Shona Pedersen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is a complex and multifactorial disease and novel approaches are needed to illuminate the underlying pathology. Metabolites comprise the end-product of genes, transcripts, and protein regulations and might reflect disease pathogenesis. Blood is a common biofluid used in metabolomics; however, since extracellular vesicles (EVs) hold cell-specific biological material and can cross the blood-brain barrier, their utilization as biological material warrants further investigation. We aimed to investigate blood- and EV-derived metabolites to add insigts to the pathological mechanisms of AD. Blood samples were collected from 10 AD and 10 Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) patients, and 10 healthy controls. EVs were enriched from plasma using 100,000×g, 1 h, 4 °C with a wash. Metabolites from serum and EVs were measured using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Multivariate and univariate analyses were employed to identify altered metabolites in cognitively impaired individuals. While no significant EV-derived metabolites were found differentiating patients from healthy individuals, six serum metabolites were found important; valine (p = 0.001, fold change, FC = 0.8), histidine (p = 0.001, FC = 0.9), allopurinol riboside (p = 0.002, FC = 0.2), inosine (p = 0.002, FC = 0.3), 4-pyridoxic acid (p = 0.006, FC = 1.6), and guanosine (p = 0.004, FC = 0.3). Pathway analysis revealed branched-chain amino acids, purine and histidine metabolisms to be downregulated, and vitamin B6 metabolism upregulated in patients compared to controls. Using a combination of LC-MS and NMR methodologies we identified several altered mechanisms possibly related to AD pathology. EVs require additional optimization prior to their possible utilization as a biological material for AD-related metabolomics studies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100125
JournalMetabolism Open
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Alzheimer
  • Metabolites
  • Blood
  • Extracellular vehicles
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance


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