Metabolomic Analyses to Identify Candidate Biomarkers of Cystinosis

Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Jan 30;24(3):2603. doi: 10.3390/ijms24032603.


Cystinosis is a rare, devastating hereditary disease secondary to recessive CTNS gene mutations. The most commonly used diagnostic method is confirmation of an elevated leukocyte cystine level; however, this method is expensive and difficult to perform. This study aimed to identify candidate biomarkers for the diagnosis and follow-up of cystinosis based on multiomics studies. The study included three groups: newly-diagnosed cystinosis patients (patient group, n = 14); cystinosis patients under treatment (treatment group, n = 19); and healthy controls (control group, n = 30). Plasma metabolomics analysis identified 10 metabolites as candidate biomarkers that differed between the patient and control groups [L-serine, taurine, lyxose, 4-trimethylammoniobutanoic acid, orotic acid, glutathione, PE(O-18:1(9Z)/0:0), 2-hydroxyphenyl acetic acid, acetyl-N-formil-5-metoxikinuramine, 3-indoxyl sulphate]. As compared to the healthy control group, in the treatment group, hypotaurine, phosphatidylethanolamine, N-acetyl-d-mannosamine, 3-indolacetic acid, p-cresol, phenylethylamine, 5-aminovaleric acid, glycine, creatinine, and saccharic acid levels were significantly higher, and the metabolites quinic acid, capric acid, lenticin, xanthotoxin, glucose-6-phosphate, taurine, uric acid, glyceric acid, alpha-D-glucosamine phosphate, and serine levels were significantly lower. Urinary metabolomic analysis clearly differentiated the patient group from the control group by means of higher allo-inositol, talose, glucose, 2-hydroxybutiric acid, cystine, pyruvic acid, valine, and phenylalanine levels, and lower metabolite (N-acetyl-L-glutamic acid, 3-aminopropionitrile, ribitol, hydroquinone, glucuronic acid, 3-phosphoglycerate, xanthine, creatinine, and 5-aminovaleric acid) levels in the patient group. Urine metabolites were also found to be significantly different in the treatment group than in the control group. Thus, this study identified candidate biomarkers that could be used for the diagnosis and follow-up of cystinosis.

Keywords: biomarker; cystinosis; diagnosis; follow-up; metabolomics; pathway; proteomics.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Transport Systems, Neutral* / genetics
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Creatinine
  • Cystine / metabolism
  • Cystinosis* / genetics
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Humans


  • Cystine
  • Creatinine
  • Biomarkers
  • Glutathione
  • Amino Acid Transport Systems, Neutral