Validation of metabolomic models for prediction of early-onset preeclampsia

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Oct;213(4):530.e1-530.e10. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2015.06.044. Epub 2015 Jun 23.


Objective: We sought to perform validation studies of previously published and newly derived first-trimester metabolomic algorithms for prediction of early preeclampsia (PE).

Study design: Nuclear magnetic resonance-based metabolomic analysis was performed on first-trimester serum in 50 women who subsequently developed early PE and in 108 first-trimester controls. Random stratification and allocation was used to divide cases into a discovery group (30 early PE and 65 controls) for generation of the biomarker model(s) and a validation group (20 early PE and 43 controls) to ensure an unbiased assessment of the predictive algorithms. Cross-validation testing on the different algorithms was performed to confirm their robustness before use. Metabolites, demographic features, clinical characteristics, and uterine Doppler pulsatility index data were evaluated. Area under the receiver operator characteristic curve (AUC), 95% confidence interval (CI), sensitivity, and specificity of the biomarker models were derived.

Results: Validation testing found that the metabolite-only model had an AUC of 0.835 (95% CI, 0.769-0.941) with a 75% sensitivity and 74.4% specificity and for the metabolites plus uterine Doppler pulsatility index model it was 0.916 (95% CI, 0.836-0.996), 90%, and 88.4%, respectively. Predictive metabolites included arginine and 2-hydroxybutyrate, which are known to be involved in vascular dilation, and insulin resistance and impaired glucose regulation, respectively.

Conclusion: We found confirmatory evidence that first-trimester metabolomic biomarkers can predict future development of early PE.

Keywords: early-onset preeclampsia; metabolomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Metabolomics*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / diagnosis
  • Pre-Eclampsia / diagnostic imaging
  • Pre-Eclampsia / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First / metabolism*
  • Pulsatile Flow
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler
  • Uterine Artery / diagnostic imaging*
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers