Human serum metabolic profiles are age dependent

Zhonghao Yu, Guangju Zhai, Paula Singmann, Ying He, Tao Xu, Cornelia Prehn, Werner Roemisch-Margl, Eva Lattka, Christian Gieger, Nicole Soranzo, Joachim Heinrich, Marie Standl, Elisabeth Thiering, Kirstin Mittelstrass, Heinz-Erich Wichmann, Annette Peters, Karsten Suhre, Yixue Li, Jerzy Adamski, Tim D. SpectorThomas Illig, Rui Wang-Sattler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

242 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the complexity of aging is of utmost importance. This can now be addressed by the novel and powerful approach of metabolomics. However, to date, only a few metabolic studies based on large samples are available. Here, we provide novel and specific information on age-related metabolite concentration changes in human homeostasis. We report results from two population-based studies: the KORA F4 study from Germany as a discovery cohort, with 1038 female and 1124 male participants (3281 years), and the TwinsUK study as replication, with 724 female participants. Targeted metabolomics of fasting serum samples quantified 131 metabolites by FIA-MS/MS. Among these, 71/34 metabolites were significantly associated with age in women/men (BMI adjusted). We further identified a set of 13 independent metabolites in women (with P values ranging from 4.6 x 10-04 to 7.8 x 10-42, acorr = 0.004). Eleven of these 13 metabolites were replicated in the TwinsUK study, including seven metabolite concentrations that increased with age (C0, C10:1, C12:1, C18:1, SM C16:1, SM C18:1, and PC aa C28:1), while histidine decreased. These results indicate that metabolic profiles are age dependent and might reflect different aging processes, such as incomplete mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation. The use of metabolomics will increase our understanding of aging networks and may lead to discoveries that help enhance healthy aging.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)960-967
Number of pages8
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


  • age
  • aging
  • epidemiology
  • metabolomics
  • population-based study
  • KORA


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