Metabolomic Profiling of Cerebral Palsy Brain Tissue Reveals Novel Central Biomarkers and Biochemical Pathways Associated with the Disease: A Pilot Study

Metabolites. 2019 Feb 2;9(2):27. doi: 10.3390/metabo9020027.


Cerebral palsy (CP) is one of the most common causes of motor disability in childhood, with complex and heterogeneous etiopathophysiology and clinical presentation. Understanding the metabolic processes associated with the disease may aid in the discovery of preventive measures and therapy. Tissue samples (caudate nucleus) were obtained from post-mortem CP cases (n = 9) and age- and gender-matched control subjects (n = 11). We employed a targeted metabolomics approach using both ¹H NMR and direct injection liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (DI/LC-MS/MS). We accurately identified and quantified 55 metabolites using ¹H NMR and 186 using DI/LC-MS/MS. Among the 222 detected metabolites, 27 showed significant concentration changes between CP cases and controls. Glycerophospholipids and urea were the most commonly selected metabolites used to develop predictive models capable of discriminating between CP and controls. Metabolomics enrichment analysis identified folate, propanoate, and androgen/estrogen metabolism as the top three significantly perturbed pathways. We report for the first time the metabolomic profiling of post-mortem brain tissue from patients who died from cerebral palsy. These findings could help to further investigate the complex etiopathophysiology of CP while identifying predictive, central biomarkers of CP.

Keywords: 1H NMR; cerebral palsy; metabolic pathways; metabolomics; targeted mass spectrometry.