Untargeted metabolomics of human plasma reveal lipid markers unique to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Shabarinath Nambiar, Dino Bee Aik Tan, Britt Clynick, Sze How Bong, Catherine Rawlinson, Joel Gummer, Tamera J. Corte, Ian Glaspole, Yuben P. Moodley, Robert Trengove

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterised by airway inflammation and progressive airflow limitation, whereas idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is characterised by a restrictive pattern due to fibrosis and impaired gas exchange. We undertook metabolomic analysis of blood samples in IPF, COPD and healthy controls (HC) to determine differences in circulating molecules and identify novel pathogenic pathways. An untargeted metabolomics using an ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer (UHPLC-QTOF-MS) was performed to profile plasma of patients with COPD (n = 21), and IPF (n = 24) in comparison to plasma from healthy controls (HC; n = 20). The most significant features were identified using multiple database matching. One-way ANOVA and variable importance in projection (VIP) scores were also used to highlight metabolites that influence the specific disease groups. Non-polar metabolites such as fatty acids (FA) and membrane lipids were well resolved and a total of 4805 features were identified. The most prominent metabolite composition differences in lipid mediators identified at ∼2–3 fold higher in both diseases compared to HC were palmitoleic acid, oleic acid and linoleic acid; and dihydrotestosterone was lower in both diseases. We demonstrated that COPD and IPF were characterised by systemic changes in lipid constituents such as essential FA sampled from circulating plasma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2000039
Number of pages9
JournalProteomics - Clinical Applications
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • COPD
  • IPF
  • metabolomics
  • plasma

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