Nonocclusive Sweat Collection Combined with Chemical Isotope Labeling LC-MS for Human Sweat Metabolomics and Mapping the Sweat Metabolomes at Different Skin Locations

Anal Chem. 2017 Aug 1;89(15):7847-7851. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.7b01988. Epub 2017 Jul 19.


Human sweat is an excellent biofluid candidate for metabolomics due to its noninvasive sample collection and relatively simple matrix. We report a simple and inexpensive method for sweat collection over a defined period (e.g., 24 h) based on the use of a nonocclusive style sweat patch adhered to a skin. This method was combined with differential chemical isotope labeling (CIL) LC-MS for mapping the metabolome profiles of sweat samples collected from skins of the left forearm, lower back, and neck of 20 healthy volunteers. Three 24-h sweat samples were collected at three different days from each subject for examining day-to-day metabolome variations. A total of 342 LC-MS runs were carried out (two runs were discarded due to instrumental issue), resulting in the detection and relative quantification of 3140 sweat metabolites with 84 metabolites identified and 2716 metabolites mass-matched to metabolome databases. Multivariate and univariate analyses of the metabolome data revealed a location-dependence characteristic of the sweat metabolome, offering a possibility of mapping the sweat metabolic differences according to skin locations. Significant differences in male and female sweat metabolomes could be detected, demonstrating the possibility of using the sweat metabolome to reveal biological variations among different comparative groups. Thus, the combination of noninvasive sweat collection and CIL LC-MS is a robust analytical tool for sweat metabolomics with potential applications including daily monitoring of the sweat metabolome as health indicators, discovering sweat-based disease biomarkers, and metabolomic mapping of sweat collected from different areas of skin with and without injuries or diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Dansyl Compounds / chemistry
  • Discriminant Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isotope Labeling
  • Male
  • Metabolome*
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Sweat / metabolism*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Dansyl Compounds