Changes in the serum metabolite profile in obese children with weight loss

Eur J Nutr. 2015 Mar;54(2):173-81. doi: 10.1007/s00394-014-0698-8. Epub 2014 Apr 17.


Purpose: Childhood obesity is an increasing problem and is accompanied by metabolic disturbances. Recently, we have identified 14 serum metabolites by a metabolomics approach (FIA-MS/MS), which showed altered concentrations in obese children as compared to normal-weight children. Obese children demonstrated higher concentrations of two acylcarnitines and lower levels of three amino acids, six acyl-alkyl phosphatidylcholines, and three lysophosphatidylcholines. The aim of this study was to analyze whether these alterations normalize in weight loss.

Methods: We analyzed the changes of these 14 metabolites by the same metabolic kit as in our previous study in serum samples of 80 obese children with substantial weight loss (BMI-SDS reduction >0.5) and in 80 obese children with stable weight status all participating in a 1-year lifestyle intervention.

Results: In the children without weight change, no significant changes of metabolite concentrations could be observed. In children with substantial weight loss, glutamine, methionine, the lysophosphatidylcholines LPCaC18:1, LPCaC18:2, and LPCa20:4, as well as the acyl-alkyl phosphatidylcholine PCaeC36:2 increased significantly, while the acylcarnitines C12:1 and C16:1, proline, PCaeC34:1, PCaeC34:2, PCaeC34:3, PCaeC36:3, and PCaeC38:2 did not change significantly.

Conclusions: The changes of glutamine, methionine, LPCaC18:1, LPCaC18:2, LPCa20:4, and PCaeC36:2 seem to be related to the changes of dieting or exercise habits in lifestyle intervention or to be a consequence of overweight since they normalized in weight loss. Further studies should substantiate our findings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Down-Regulation*
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Glutamine / blood*
  • Glutamine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Lysophosphatidylcholines / blood*
  • Lysophosphatidylcholines / metabolism
  • Male
  • Methionine / blood*
  • Methionine / metabolism
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Phospholipid Ethers / blood*
  • Phospholipid Ethers / metabolism
  • Weight Loss


  • Lysophosphatidylcholines
  • Phospholipid Ethers
  • Glutamine
  • Methionine