Metabolic signature associated with parameters of the complete blood count in apparently healthy individuals

J Cell Mol Med. 2019 Aug;23(8):5144-5153. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.14383. Epub 2019 Jun 19.


Metabolomics studies now approach large sample sizes and the health characterization of the study population often include complete blood count (CBC) results. Upon careful interpretation the CBC aids diagnosis and provides insight into the health status of the patient within a clinical setting. Uncovering metabolic signatures associated with parameters of the CBC in apparently healthy individuals may facilitate interpretation of metabolomics studies in general and related to diseases. For this purpose 879 subjects from the population-based Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP)-TREND were included. Using metabolomics data resulting from mass-spectrometry based measurements in plasma samples associations of specific CBC parameters with metabolites were determined by linear regression models. In total, 118 metabolites significantly associated with at least one of the CBC parameters. Strongest associations were observed with metabolites of heme degradation and energy production/consumption. Inverse association seen with mean corpuscular volume and mean corpuscular haemoglobin comprised metabolites potentially related to kidney function. The presently identified metabolic signatures are likely derived from the general function and formation/elimination of blood cells. The wealth of associated metabolites strongly argues to consider CBC in the interpretation of metabolomics studies, in particular if mutual effects on those parameters by the disease of interest are known.

Keywords: apparently healthy; blood cell metabolism; complete blood count; metabolomics; population-based study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Cell Count*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Metabolomics*