Development of a method for enhancing metabolomics coverage of human sweat by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry in high resolution mode

Anal Chim Acta. 2016 Jan 28:905:115-25. doi: 10.1016/j.aca.2015.11.048. Epub 2015 Dec 17.


Sweat has recently gained popularity as clinical sample in metabolomics analysis as it is a non-invasive biofluid the composition of which could be modified by certain pathologies, as is the case with cystic fibrosis that increases chloride levels in sweat. However, the whole composition of sweat is still unknown and there is a lack of analytical strategies for sweat analysis. The aim of the present study was to develop and validate a method for metabolomic analysis of human sweat by gas chromatography-time of flight/mass spectrometry (GC-TOF/MS) in high resolution mode. Thus, different sample preparation strategies were compared to check their effect on the profile of sweat metabolites. Sixty-six compounds were tentatively identified by the obtained MS information. Amino acids, dicarboxylic acids and other interesting metabolites such as myo-inositol and urocanic acid were identified. Among the tested protocols, methyoxiamination plus silylation after deproteinization was the most suited option to obtain a representative snapshot of sweat metabolome. The intra-day repeatability of the method ranged from 0.60 to 16.99% and the inter-day repeatability from 2.75 to 31.25%. As most of the identified metabolites are involved in key biochemical pathways, this study opens new possibilities to the use of sweat as a source of metabolite biomarkers of specific disorders.

Keywords: Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry; Global profiling; Human sweat; Human sweat metabolome; Metabolomics; Sample preparation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Metabolomics*
  • Sweat / metabolism*