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      Plasma Metabolomics and Lipidomics Reveal Perturbed Metabolites in Different Disease Stages of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

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          Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common disease characterized by persistent respiratory symptoms and airflow restriction. It is usually manifested as airway and/or alveolar abnormalities caused by significant exposure to harmful particulates or gases.


          We aim to explore plasma metabolomic changes in the acute exacerbation stage of COPD (AECOPD) and stable stage of COPD (Stable COPD) to identify potential biomarkers for diagnosis or prognosis in clinical practice.


          Untargeted metabolomics and lipidomics analyses were performed to investigate dysregulated molecules in blood plasma of AECOPD patients (n=48) and Stable COPD (n=48), and a cohort of healthy people were included as a control group (n=48). Statistical analysis and bioinformatics analysis were performed to reveal dysregulated metabolites and perturbed metabolic pathways. SVM-based multivariate ROC analysis was used for candidate biomarker screening.


          A total of 142 metabolites and 688 lipids were dysregulated in COPD patients. Pathway enrichment analysis showed that several metabolic pathways were perturbed after COPD onset. Several biomarker panels were proposed for diagnosis of COPD vs healthy control and AECOPD vs Stable COPD with AUC greater than 0.9.


          Numerous plasma metabolites and several metabolic pathways were detected relevant to COPD disease onset or progression. These metabolites may be considered as candidate biomarkers for diagnosis or prognosis of COPD. The perturbed pathways involved in COPD provide clues for further pathological mechanism studies of COPD.

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          Most cited references 29

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              Measuring the metabolome: current analytical technologies.

              The post-genomics era has brought with it ever increasing demands to observe and characterise variation within biological systems. This variation has been studied at the genomic (gene function), proteomic (protein regulation) and the metabolomic (small molecular weight metabolite) levels. Whilst genomics and proteomics are generally studied using microarrays (genomics) and 2D-gels or mass spectrometry (proteomics), the technique of choice is less obvious in the area of metabolomics. Much work has been published employing mass spectrometry, NMR spectroscopy and vibrational spectroscopic techniques, amongst others, for the study of variations within the metabolome in many animal, plant and microbial systems. This review discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each technique, putting the current status of the field of metabolomics in context, and providing examples of applications for each technique employed.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                09 March 2020
                : 15
                : 553-565
                [1 ]Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Big Data-Based Precision Medicine, Beihang University , Beijing 100083, People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Peking University Third Hospital , Beijing, People’s Republic of China
                [3 ]Institute of Systems Biomedicine, Department of Pathology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Beijing Key Laboratory of Tumor Systems Biology, Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences, Peking University Health Science Center , Beijing 100191, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Yuxin Yin Department of Pathology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Beijing Key Laboratory of Tumor Systems Biology, Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences, Peking University Health Science Center , Beijing100191, People’s Republic of China Email

                These authors contributed equally to this work

                © 2020 Zhou et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (

                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 1, References: 37, Pages: 13
                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                biomarker, metabolomics, lipidomics, copd


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