Metabolomics-Based Discovery of Small Molecule Biomarkers in Serum Associated with Dengue Virus Infections and Disease Outcomes

Epidemic dengue fever (DF) and dengue haemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome (DHF/DSS) are overwhelming public health capacity for diagnosis and clinical care of dengue patients throughout the tropical and subtropical world. The ability to predict severe dengue disease outcomes (DHF/DSS) using acute phase clinical specimens would be of enormous value to physicians and health care workers for appropriate triaging of patients for clinical management. Advances in the field of metabolomics and analytic software provide new opportunities to identify host small molecule biomarkers (SMBs) in acute phase clinical specimens that differentiate dengue disease outcomes. Exploratory metabolomic studies were conducted to characterise the serum metabolome of patients who experienced different dengue disease outcomes. Serum samples from dengue patients from Nicaragua and Mexico were retrospectively obtained, and hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC)-mass spectrometry (MS) identified small molecule metabolites that were associated with and statistically differentiated DHF/DSS, DF, and non-dengue (ND) diagnosis groups. In the Nicaraguan samples, 191 metabolites differentiated DF from ND outcomes and 83 differentiated DHF/DSS and DF outcomes. In the Mexican samples, 306 metabolites differentiated DF from ND and 37 differentiated DHF/DSS and DF outcomes. The structural identities of 13 metabolites were confirmed using tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). Metabolomic analysis of serum samples from patients diagnosed as DF who progressed to DHF/DSS identified 65 metabolites that predicted dengue disease outcomes. Differential perturbation of the serum metabolome was demonstrated following infection with different DENV serotypes and following primary and secondary DENV infections. The authors concluded that these results provide proof-of-concept that a metabolomics approach can be used to identify metabolites or SMBs in serum specimens that are associated with distinct DENV infections and disease outcomes. The differentiating metabolites also provide insights into metabolic pathways and pathogenic and immunologic mechanisms associated with dengue disease severity.

Authors: Voge NV, Perera R, Mahapatra S, Gresh L, Balmaseda A, Loroño-Pino MA, Hopf-Jannasch AS, Belisle JT, Harris E, Blair CD, Beaty BJ. ;Full Source: PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2016 Feb 25;10(2):e0004449. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004449. eCollection 2016. ;