Circulating Metabolomic and Lipidomic Signatures Identify a Type 2 Diabetes Risk Profile in Low-Birth-Weight Men with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

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The extent to which increased liver fat content influences differences in circulating metabolites and/or lipids between low-birth-weight (LBW) individuals, at increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D), and normal-birth-weight (NBW) controls is unknown. The objective of the study was to perform untargeted serum metabolomics and lipidomics analyses in 26 healthy, non-obese early-middle-aged LBW men, including five men with screen-detected and previously unrecognized non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), compared with 22 age- and BMI-matched NBW men (controls). While four metabolites (out of 65) and fifteen lipids (out of 279) differentiated the 26 LBW men from the 22 NBW controls (p ≤ 0.05), subgroup analyses of the LBW men with and without NAFLD revealed more pronounced differences, with 11 metabolites and 56 lipids differentiating (p ≤ 0.05) the groups. The differences in the LBW men with NAFLD included increased levels of ornithine and tyrosine (PFDR ≤ 0.1), as well as of triglycerides and phosphatidylcholines with shorter carbon-chain lengths and fewer double bonds. Pathway and network analyses demonstrated downregulation of transfer RNA (tRNA) charging, altered urea cycling, insulin resistance, and an increased risk of T2D in the LBW men with NAFLD. Our findings highlight the importance of increased liver fat in the pathogenesis of T2D in LBW individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1590
Issue number7
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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© 2023 by the authors.

    Research areas

  • lipidomics, liver fat, low-birth-weight, metabolomics, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes

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