Metabonomic and metallomic profiling in the amniotic fluid of malnourished pregnant rats

J Proteome Res. 2008 May;7(5):2151-7. doi: 10.1021/pr700776c. Epub 2008 Mar 19.


Epidemiology and studies in animal models have revealed that prenatal malnutrition is highly correlated with abnormal fetal neurodevelopment. We present here a combined metabonomic and metallomic profiling technique to associate the metabolic and trace-elemental composition variations of rat amniotic fluid (AF) in malnourished pregnant rats with the retardation of fetal rat neurodevelopment. The AF samples from three groups of pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats, which were fed either a normal diet, a low-protein diet, or "a famine diet", were subjected to GC/MS and ICP/MS combined with multivariate data analysis (MVDA). PCA scores plot of both GC/MS and ICP/MS data showed similar and unique metabolic signatures of AF in response to the different diets. Rats in the famine group released increased amounts of glycine, inositol, putrescine, and rubidium and decreased amounts of methionine, dopa, tryptophan, glutamine, zinc, cobalt, and selenium in the AF. These discriminable variations in the AF may indicate the abnormality of a number of metabolic pathways in fetal rats including the folate cycle and methionine pathway, the monoamine pathway, and tri-iodothyronine (T3) metabolism. The abnormalities may be the result of metabolites or elemental differences or a combination of both. This study demonstrates the potential of combining profiling of small-molecule metabolites and trace elements to broaden the understanding of biological variations associated with fetal neurodevelopment induced by environmental perturbation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amniotic Fluid / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Diet
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fetus / anatomy & histology
  • Fetus / physiology
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Malnutrition / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Trace Elements / analysis*


  • Trace Elements