Gender- and Age-Associated Differences in Serum Metabolite Profiles among Japanese Populations

Biol Pharm Bull. 2016;39(7):1179-86. doi: 10.1248/bpb.b16-00226.


Serum metabolites can reflect the diffusion/export of biochemicals from various organs. They can serve as biomarkers related to diseases and therapeutic efficacy/toxicity. While studies in Caucasians suggested that subject gender and age can affect circulating metabolite profiles, the Japanese population has not been surveyed. Our objective was to delineate gender- and age-associated differences in serum metabolite profiles among Japanese populations. Using a mass spectrometry-based global metabolomics approach, 516 endogenous metabolites were detected in sera from Japanese individuals. The principal component analysis identified gender as the primary component, followed by age, suggesting that these two criteria were key contributors to variations in the dataset. Gender-associated differences were observed in 31 and 25% of metabolites in the young (age 25-35) and old (ages 55-65) populations, respectively, in redox homeostasis, and in steroid and purine nucleotide metabolism pathways. Age-associated differences were observed in 24 and 23% of metabolites in men and women, respectively. No pathway was commonly highlighted. Thus, gender and age impact on metabolite profiles in the Japanese population. Our results provide useful information to explore biomarkers for clinical applications in the Japanese population and to assess the applicability of known biomarkers identified in other populations to the Japanese population.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / blood
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolome*
  • Middle Aged
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Serum / metabolism*
  • Sex Characteristics


  • Biomarkers