Reliability of urinary charged metabolite concentrations in a large-scale cohort study using capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry

Sci Rep. 2021 Apr 1;11(1):7407. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-86600-9.


Currently, large-scale cohort studies for metabolome analysis have been launched globally. However, only a few studies have evaluated the reliability of urinary metabolome analysis. This study aimed to establish the reliability of urinary metabolomic profiling in cohort studies. In the Tsuruoka Metabolomics Cohort Study, 123 charged metabolites were identified and routinely quantified using capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry (CE-MS). We evaluated approximately 750 quality control (QC) samples and 6,720 participants' spot urine samples. We calculated inter- and intra-batch coefficients of variation in the QC and participant samples and technical intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC). A correlation of metabolite concentrations between spot and 24-h urine samples obtained from 32 sub-cohort participants was also evaluated. The coefficient of variation (CV) was less than 20% for 87 metabolites (70.7%) and 20-30% for 19 metabolites (15.4%) in the QC samples. There was less than 20% inter-batch CV for 106 metabolites (86.2%). Most urinary metabolites would have reliability for measurement. The 96 metabolites (78.0%) was above 0.75 for the estimated ICC, and those might be useful for epidemiological analysis. Among individuals, the Pearson correlation coefficient of 24-h and spot urine was more than 70% for 59 of the 99 metabolites. These results show that the profiling of charged metabolites using CE-MS in morning spot human urine is suitable for epidemiological metabolomics studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / urine*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Electrophoresis, Capillary
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Metabolome*
  • Metabolomics* / methods
  • Metabolomics* / standards
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Quality Control
  • Urine Specimen Collection / methods


  • Biomarkers