Metabolic profiling of urine provides a fingerprint of personalized endogenous metabolite markers that correlate to a number of factors such as gender, disease, diet, toxicity, medication, and age. It is important to study these factors individually, if possible to unravel their unique contributions. In this study, age-related metabolic changes in children of age 12 years and below were analyzed by (1)H NMR spectroscopy of urine. The effect of age on the urinary metabolite profile was observed as a distinct age-dependent clustering even from the unsupervised principal component analysis. Further analysis, using partial least squares with orthogonal signal correction regression with respect to age, resulted in the identification of an age-related metabolic profile. Metabolites that correlated with age included creatinine, creatine, glycine, betaine/TMAO, citrate, succinate, and acetone. Although creatinine increased with age, all the other metabolites decreased. These results may be potentially useful in assessing the biological age (as opposed to chronological) of young humans as well as in providing a deeper understanding of the confounding factors in the application of metabolomics.
(c) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.