Metabolites (Feb 2022)

Age, Sex, Body Mass Index, Diet and Menopause Related Metabolites in a Large Homogeneous Alpine Cohort

  • Vinicius Verri Hernandes,
  • Nikola Dordevic,
  • Essi Marjatta Hantikainen,
  • Baldur Bragi Sigurdsson,
  • Sigurður Vidir Smárason,
  • Vanessa Garcia-Larsen,
  • Martin Gögele,
  • Giulia Caprioli,
  • Ilaria Bozzolan,
  • Peter P. Pramstaller,
  • Johannes Rainer

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 12, no. 3
p. 205


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Metabolomics in human serum samples provide a snapshot of the current metabolic state of an individuum. Metabolite concentrations are influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Concentrations of certain metabolites can further depend on age, sex, menopause, and diet of study participants. A better understanding of these relationships is pivotal for the planning of metabolomics studies involving human subjects and interpretation of their results. We generated one of the largest single-site targeted metabolomics data sets consisting of 175 quantified metabolites in 6872 study participants. We identified metabolites significantly associated with age, sex, body mass index, diet, and menopausal status. While most of our results agree with previous large-scale studies, we also found novel associations including serotonin as a sex and BMI-related metabolite and sarcosine and C2 carnitine showing significantly higher concentrations in post-menopausal women. Finally, we observed strong associations between higher consumption of food items and certain metabolites, mostly phosphatidylcholines and lysophosphatidylcholines. Most, and the strongest, relationships were found for habitual meat intake while no significant relationships were found for most fruits, vegetables, and grain products. Summarizing, our results reconfirm findings from previous population-based studies on an independent cohort. Together, these findings will ultimately enable the consolidation of sets of metabolites which are related to age, sex, BMI, and menopause as well as to participants’ diet.