Metabolites are generated from critical biological functions and metabolism. This pediatric study reviewed plasma metabolites in patients suffering from multi-organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) using an untargeted metabolomics approach. Patients meeting the criteria for MODS were screened for eligibility and consented (n = 24), and blood samples were collected at baseline, 72 h, and 8 days; control patients (n = 4) presented for routine sedation in an outpatient setting. A subset of MODS patients (n = 8) required additional support with veno-atrial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO) therapy. Metabolites from thawed blood plasma were determined from ion pairing reversed-phase liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) analysis. Chromatographic peak alignment, identification, relative quantitation, and statistical and bioinformatics evaluation were performed using MAVEN and MetaboAnalyst 4.0. Metabolite analysis revealed 115 peaks per sample. From the partial least squares-discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) with variance of importance (VIP) scores above ≥2.0, 7 dynamic metabolites emerged over the three time points: tauro-chenodeoxycholic acid (TCDCA), hexose, p-hydroxybenzoate, hydroxyphenylacetic acid (HPLA), 2_3-dihydroxybenzoic acid, 2-keto-isovalerate, and deoxyribose phosphate. After Bonferroni adjustment for repeated measures, hexose and p-hydroxybenzoate were significant at one time point or more. Kendall's tau-b test was used for internal validation of creatinine. Metabolites may be benign or significant in describing a patient's pathophysiology and require operator interpretation.
Keywords: blood plasma; extracorporeal membrane oxygenation; liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry; metabolites; multiple organ dysfunction syndrome; pediatric intensive care unit.