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Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1007/s11306-016-1133-3
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Title (Primary) Mid- and long-term correlations of plasma metabolite concentrations measured by a targeted metabolomics approach
Author Kühn, T.; Sookthai, D.; Rolle-Kampczyk, U.; Otto, W.; Otto, W.; von Bergen, M.; Kaaks, R.; Johnson, T.
Source Titel Metabolomics
Year 2016
Department IMMU; MOLSYB
Volume 12
Issue 12
Page From art. 184
Language englisch
Keywords Targeted metabolomics; Intra-individual variation; Biological reproducibility; Plasma metabolites
UFZ wide themes RU3;


Plasma metabolites measured by metabolomics techniques have been shown to be associated with chronic disease risk in epidemiological studies. However, in most prospective studies metabolomic profiles can only be obtained at a single time point and data on intra-individual variation in metabolite levels over time are sparse.


Here, we evaluated the intra-individual variation in the concentrations of 177 metabolites over time using repeat blood samples of 104 adults (50% female).


Blood samples were obtained at a baseline visit between 1994 and 1998 and during two further examinations 14 and 15 years later. Plasma metabolite levels were quantified by tandem mass spectrometry with the MetaDisIDQ™ p180 Kit. Intra-individual variation was assessed by Spearman’s correlation coefficients (ρ).


Mid-term correlations over 1 year were good (ρ ≥ 0.7) for 5.1% and reasonable (ρ ≥ 0.4 < 0.7) for 61.0% of the metabolites, while long-term correlations over 15 years were good for 2.8% and reasonable for 27.1%. The strongest mid-term correlations between metabolite concentrations were observed for the acylcarnitine C3–OH (0.72) and metabolites from the amino acid/biogenic amine groups, i.e. creatinine (0.83), proline (0.79), lysine (0.77), isoleucine (0.76), and ornithine (0.74). C3–OH (0.78) as well as several amino acids/biogenic amines, i.e. ornithine (0.76), sarcosine (0.76), lysine (0.75), spermine (0.73), and glutamine (0.69) showed the strongest long-term correlations.


The biological reproducibility of plasma concentrations of a majority of metabolites occurs reasonable over 1 year. In contrast, concentrations of many metabolites seem to be affected by substantial intra-individual variation over 15 years.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Kühn, T., Sookthai, D., Rolle-Kampczyk, U., Otto, W., Otto, W., von Bergen, M., Kaaks, R., Johnson, T. (2016):
Mid- and long-term correlations of plasma metabolite concentrations measured by a targeted metabolomics approach
Metabolomics 12 (12), art. 184 10.1007/s11306-016-1133-3