Targeted Metabolomic Analysis in Alzheimer's Disease Plasma and Brain Tissue in Non-Hispanic Whites

Karel Kalecký, Dwight C. German, Albert A. Montillo, Teodoro Bottiglieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Metabolites are biological compounds reflecting the functional activity of organs and tissues. Understanding metabolic changes in Alzheimer's disease (AD) can provide insight into potential risk factors in this multifactorial disease and suggest new intervention strategies or improve non-invasive diagnosis. Objective: In this study, we searched for changes in AD metabolism in plasma and frontal brain cortex tissue samples and evaluated the performance of plasma measurements as biomarkers. Methods: This is a case-control study with two tissue cohorts: 158 plasma samples (94 AD, 64 controls; Texas Alzheimer's Research and Care Consortium - TARCC) and 71 postmortem cortex samples (35 AD, 36 controls; Banner Sun Health Research Institute brain bank). We performed targeted mass spectrometry analysis of 630 compounds (106 small molecules: UHPLC-MS/MS, 524 lipids: FIA-MS/MS) and 232 calculated metabolic indicators with a metabolomic kit (Biocrates MxP® Quant 500). Results: We discovered disturbances (FDR≤0.05) in multiple metabolic pathways in AD in both cohorts including microbiome-related metabolites with pro-toxic changes, methylhistidine metabolism, polyamines, corticosteroids, omega-3 fatty acids, acylcarnitines, ceramides, and diglycerides. In AD, plasma reveals elevated triglycerides, and cortex shows altered amino acid metabolism. A cross-validated diagnostic prediction model from plasma achieves AUC = 82% (CI95 = 75-88%); for females specifically, AUC = 88% (CI95 = 80-95%). A reduced model using 20 features achieves AUC = 79% (CI95 = 71-85%); for females AUC = 84% (CI95 = 74-92%). Conclusion: Our findings support the involvement of gut environment in AD and encourage targeting multiple metabolic areas in the design of intervention strategies, including microbiome composition, hormonal balance, nutrients, and muscle homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1875-1895
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • antioxidants
  • bacterial toxins
  • biomarkers
  • human microbiome
  • hyperlipidemia
  • lipidomics
  • metabolic pathways
  • metabolomics
  • polyamines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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