Targeted Metabolic Profiling of Post-Mortem Brain from Infants Who Died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

J Proteome Res. 2017 Jul 7;16(7):2587-2596. doi: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.7b00157. Epub 2017 Jun 20.


Currently little is known about the underlying pathophysiology associated with SIDS, and no objective biomarkers exist for the accurate identification of those at greatest risk of dying from SIDS. Using targeted metabolomics, we aim to profile the medulla oblongata of infants who have died from SIDS (n = 16) and directly compare their biochemical profile with age matched controls. Combining data acquired using 1H NMR and targeted DI-LC-MS/MS, we have identified fatty acid oxidation as a pivotal biochemical pathway perturbed in the brains of those infants who have from SIDS (p = 0.0016). Further we have identified a potential central biomarker with an AUC (95% CI) = 0.933 (0.845-1.000) having high sensitivity (0.933) and specificity (0.875) values for discriminating between control and SIDS brains. This is the first reported study to use targeted metabolomics for the study of PM brain from infants who have died from SIDS. We have identified pathways associated with the disease and central biomarkers for early screening/diagnosis.

Keywords: biomarkers; post-mortem brain; sudden infant death syndrome; targeted metabolomics.

MeSH terms

  • Autopsy
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Medulla Oblongata / metabolism*
  • Medulla Oblongata / pathology
  • Metabolome*
  • Metabolomics / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Sudden Infant Death / diagnosis*
  • Sudden Infant Death / pathology


  • Biomarkers
  • Fatty Acids