Untargeted Metabolomics of Slc13a5 Deficiency Reveal Critical Liver-Brain Axis for Lipid Homeostasis

Metabolites. 2022 Apr 14;12(4):351. doi: 10.3390/metabo12040351.


Though biallelic variants in SLC13A5 are known to cause severe encephalopathy, the mechanism of this disease is poorly understood. SLC13A5 protein deficiency reduces citrate transport into the cell. Downstream abnormalities in fatty acid synthesis and energy generation have been described, though biochemical signs of these perturbations are inconsistent across SLC13A5 deficiency patients. To investigate SLC13A5-related disorders, we performed untargeted metabolic analyses on the liver, brain, and serum from a Slc13a5-deficient mouse model. Metabolomic data were analyzed using the connect-the-dots (CTD) methodology and were compared to plasma and CSF metabolomics from SLC13A5-deficient patients. Mice homozygous for the Slc13a5tm1b/tm1b null allele had perturbations in fatty acids, bile acids, and energy metabolites in all tissues examined. Further analyses demonstrated that for several of these molecules, the ratio of their relative tissue concentrations differed widely in the knockout mouse, suggesting that deficiency of Slc13a5 impacts the biosynthesis and flux of metabolites between tissues. Similar findings were observed in patient biofluids, indicating altered transport and/or flux of molecules involved in energy, fatty acid, nucleotide, and bile acid metabolism. Deficiency of SLC13A5 likely causes a broader state of metabolic dysregulation than previously recognized, particularly regarding lipid synthesis, storage, and metabolism, supporting SLC13A5 deficiency as a lipid disorder.

Keywords: SLC13A5; SLC13A5 deficiency; bile acid metabolism; citrate transport; lipid synthesis; lipid utilization; liver-brain axis; untargeted metabolomics.