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ISSN: 2153-0769

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Research Article

Sex Dependency of Human Metabolic Profiles Revisited

Sabine Siegert1*, Zhonghao Yu2, Rui Wang-Sattler2, Thomas Illig2,3, Jerzy Adamski4, Stefan Schreiber5,6,7, Michael Krawczak7,8, Michael Nothnagel8 and Ute Nöthlings1,7,9

1Institute of Experimental Medicine, Section of Epidemiology, Christian-Albrechts University Kiel, Kiel, 24105, Germany

2Research Unit of Molecular Epidemiology, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Neuherberg, 85764, Germany

3Hannover Unified Biobank, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, 30625, Germany

4Genome Analysis Center, Institute of Experimental Genetics, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Neuherberg, 84764, Germany

5Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel, Kiel, 24105, Germany

6Department of General Internal Medicine, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel, Kiel, 24105, Germany

7PopGen Biobank, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel, 24105, Germany

8Institute of Medical Informatics and Statistics, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel, Kiel, 24105, Germany

9Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Nutritional Epidemiology, University of Bonn, Bonn, 53115, Germany

*Corresponding Author:
Sabine Siegert
Institute of Experimental Medicine, Section of Epidemiology
Christian-Albrechts University Kiel
Niemannsweg 11, 24105 Kiel, Germany
Tel: +49-431-597-8685
Fax: +49-431-597-1887
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: June 29, 2012; Accepted date: August 18, 2012; Published date: August 20, 2012

Citation: Siegert S, Yu Z, Wang-Sattler R, Illig T, Adamski J, et al. (2012) Sex Dependency of Human Metabolic Profiles Revisited. Metabolomics 2:115. doi:10.4172/2153-0769.1000115

Copyright: © 2012 Siegert S, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Background: Human metabolic profiles based on the four compound classes acylcarnitines, amino acids, hexoses and phospho and sphingolipids were found to exhibit a significant sex difference in a previous study. We set out to verify this result in a geographically distinct cohort with an adequately sized sample by analyzing the same set of biomarkers and various additional biogenic amines not hitherto considered in such studies. Methods: The study population comprised 165 individuals (101 males, 64 females) for whom the serum concentrations of 138 different metabolites were measured. Sex differences were analyzed both at the level of individual metabolites by linear regression analysis and at the level of joint consideration of metabolites by partial least-squares discriminant analysis (PLS?DA). Results: The concentration of 60 metabolites (43.5%) showed a nominally significant sex difference in a linear regression analysis, 11 of which (8.0%) remained significant after correction for multiple testing. Among the previously studied markers, the most significant sex dependency was observed for lyso-phosphatidylcholine acyl C18:2 (adjusted p=0.001) and octadecadienyl-L-carnitine (p=0.004). Among the newly analyzed biogenic amines, only creatinine (adjusted p<10-4) and total dimethylarginine (p=0.017) showed a significant sex difference. PLS-DA confirmed the sex dependency of metabolic profiles. Conclusion: Various previously reported sex differences in human serum metabolite concentration were confirmed in an independent and slightly different cohort. In addition, the concentrations of at least two biogenic amines were found to be sex-dependent as well. In the light of an increased interest in and an increased availability of large-scale metabolic data, our study strongly emphasizes the need for sex stratification or sex adjustment in epidemiological and molecular studies based upon such profiles.


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