Unveiling metabolic remodeling in mucopolysaccharidosis type III through integrative metabolomics and pathway analysis

J Transl Med. 2018 Sep 4;16(1):248. doi: 10.1186/s12967-018-1625-1.


Background: Metabolomics represent a valuable tool to recover biological information using body fluids and may help to characterize pathophysiological mechanisms of the studied disease. This approach has not been widely used to explore inherited metabolic diseases. This study investigates mucopolysaccharidosis type III (MPS III). A thorough and holistic understanding of metabolic remodeling in MPS III may allow the development, improvement and personalization of patient care.

Methods: We applied both targeted and untargeted metabolomics to urine samples obtained from a French cohort of 49 patients, consisting of 13 MPS IIIA, 16 MPS IIIB, 13 MPS IIIC, and 7 MPS IIID, along with 66 controls. The analytical strategy is based on ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography combined with ion mobility and high-resolution mass spectrometry. Twenty-four amino acids have been assessed using tandem mass spectrometry combined with liquid chromatography. Multivariate data modeling has been used for discriminant metabolite selection. Pathway analysis has been performed to retrieve metabolic pathways impairments.

Results: Data analysis revealed distinct biochemical profiles. These metabolic patterns, particularly those related to the amino acid metabolisms, allowed the different studied groups to be distinguished. Pathway analysis unveiled major amino acid pathways impairments in MPS III mainly arginine-proline metabolism and urea cycle metabolism.

Conclusion: This represents one of the first metabolomics-based investigations of MPS III. These results may shed light on MPS III pathophysiology and could help to set more targeted studies to infer the biomarkers of the affected pathways, which is crucial for rare conditions such as MPS III.

Keywords: Inborn errors of metabolism; Ion mobility; Lysosomal storage diseases; Mass spectrometry; Metabolomics; Mucopolysaccharidosis type III.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Amino Acids / urine*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucopolysaccharidosis III / metabolism*
  • Mucopolysaccharidosis III / urine*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • ROC Curve
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Urinalysis / methods*
  • Young Adult


  • Amino Acids
  • Biomarkers