Urine metabolomics is gaining traction as a means of identifying metabolic signatures associated with health and disease states. Thirty-one (31) late preterm (LP) neonates admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and 23 age-matched healthy LPs admitted to the maternity ward of a tertiary hospital were included in the study. Proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) spectroscopy was employed for urine metabolomic analysis on the 1st and 3rd days of life of the neonates. The data were analyzed using univariate and multivariate statistical analysis. A unique metabolic pattern of enhanced metabolites was identified in the NICU-admitted LPs from the 1st day of life. Metabolic profiles were distinct in LPs presenting with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). The discrepancies likely reflect differences in the gut microbiota, either due to variations in nutrient intake or as a result of medical interventions, such as the administration of antibiotics and other medications. Altered metabolites could potentially serve as biomarkers for identifying critically ill LP neonates or those at high risk for adverse outcomes later in life, including metabolic risks. The discovery of novel biomarkers may uncover potential targets for drug discovery and optimal periods for effective intervention, offering a personalized approach.
Keywords: NMR spectroscopy; late preterm neonates; metabolic profile; neonatal intensive care unit/NICU; nutrition; personalized medicine; respiratory distress syndrome/RDS; urine metabolomics.