Blood metabolite signatures of metabolic syndrome in two cross-cultural older adult cohorts

Uma V. Mahajan, Vijay R. Varma, Chiung Wei Huang, Yang An, Toshiko Tanaka, Luigi Ferrucci, Toru Takebayashi, Sei Harada, Miho Iida, Cristina Legido-Quigley, Madhav Thambisetty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Metabolic syndrome (MetS) affects an increasing number of older adults worldwide. Cross-cultural comparisons can provide insight into how factors, including genetic, environmental, and lifestyle, may influence MetS prevalence. Metabolomics, which measures the biochemical products of cell processes, can be used to enhance a mechanistic understanding of how biological factors influence metabolic outcomes. In this study we examined associations between serum metabolite concentrations, representing a range of biochemical pathways and metabolic syndrome in two older adult cohorts: The Tsuruoka Metabolomics Cohort Study (TMCS) from Japan (n = 104) and the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) from the United States (n = 146). We used logistic regression to model associations between MetS and metabolite concentrations. We found that metabolites from the phosphatidylcholines-acyl-alkyl, sphingomyelin, and hexose classes were significantly associated with MetS and risk factor outcomes in both cohorts. In BLSA, metabolites across all classes were uniquely associated with all outcomes. In TMCS, metabolites from the amino acid, biogenic amines, and free fatty acid classes were uniquely associated with MetS, and metabolites from the sphingomyelin class were uniquely associated with elevated triglycerides. The metabolites and metabolite classes we identified may be relevant for future studies exploring disease mechanisms and identifying novel precision therapy targets for individualized medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1324
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb 2


  • Acylcarnitines
  • Amino acids
  • Ceramides
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Metabolomics
  • Obesity
  • Phosphatidylcholines
  • Sphingomyelins
  • Triglycerides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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