Urinary metabolite markers of precocious puberty

Mol Cell Proteomics. 2012 Jan;11(1):M111.011072. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M111.011072. Epub 2011 Oct 25.


The incidence of precocious puberty (PP, the appearance of signs of pubertal development at an abnormally early age), is rapidly rising, concurrent with changes of diet, lifestyles, and social environment. The current diagnostic methods are based on a hormone (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) stimulation test, which is costly, time-consuming, and uncomfortable for patients. The lack of molecular biomarkers to support simple laboratory tests, such as a blood or urine test, has been a long standing bottleneck in the clinical diagnosis and evaluation of PP. Here we report a metabolomic study using an ultra performance liquid chromatography-quadrupole time of flight mass spectrometry and gas chromatography-time of flight mass spectrometry. Urine metabolites from 163 individuals were profiled, and the metabolic alterations were analyzed after treatment of central precocious puberty (CPP) with triptorelin depot. A panel of biomarkers selected from >70 differentially expressed urinary metabolites by receiver operating characteristic and logistic regression analysis provided excellent predictive power with high sensitivity and specificity for PP. The altered metabolic profile of the PP patients was characterized by three major perturbed metabolic pathways: catecholamine, serotonin metabolism, and tricarboxylic acid cycle, presumably resulting from activation of the sympathetic nervous system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. Treatment with triptorelin depot was able to normalize these three altered pathways. Additionally, significant changes in the urine levels of 4-hydroxyphenylacetic acid, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, indoleacetic acid, 5-hydroxytryptophan, and 5-hydroxykynurenamine in the CPP group suggest that the development of CPP condition may involve an alteration in symbiotic gut microbial composition.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / urine*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / agonists
  • Hormones / urine
  • Humans
  • Metabolome
  • Puberty, Precocious / drug therapy
  • Puberty, Precocious / urine*
  • Triptorelin Pamoate / therapeutic use


  • Biomarkers
  • Hormones
  • Triptorelin Pamoate
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone