Objective: The aim of the study was to investigate the associations of amino acids and other polar metabolites with metabolic syndrome (MetS) in postmenopausal women in a lean Asian population.
Methods: The participants were 1,422 female residents enrolled in a cohort study from April to August 2012. MetS was defined according to the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III modified for Japanese women. Associations were examined between MetS and 78 metabolites assayed in fasting plasma samples using capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry. Replication analysis was performed to confirm the robustness of the results in a separate population created by random allocation.
Results: Analysis was performed for 877 naturally postmenopausal women, including 594 in the original population and 283 in the replication population. The average age, body mass index, and levels of high- and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol of the entire population were 64.6 years, 23.0 kg/m, 72.1 mg/dL, and 126.1 mg/dL, respectively. There was no significant difference in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels between women with and without MetS. Thirteen metabolites were significantly related to MetS: multiple plasma amino acids were elevated in women with MetS, including branched-chain amino acids, alanine, glutamate, and proline; and alpha-aminoadipate, which is generated by lysine degradation, was also significantly increased.
Conclusions: Our large-scale metabolomic profiling indicates that Japanese postmenopausal women with MetS have abnormal polar metabolites, suggesting altered catabolic pathways. These results may help to understand metabolic disturbance, including in persons with normal body mass index and relatively high levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and may have clinical utility based on further studies.