Advanced GC-MS Detection Enables Successful Metabolomics Analysis in Model Animals

Aug 24, 2023 | By LIU Yue; ZHAO Weiwei

Recently, a research group led by Prof. CHU Yannan at the Institute of Health and Medical Technology (IHMT), Hefei Institutes of Physical Science (HFIPS) of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) adopted the untargeted analytical method of headspace-solid phase microextraction-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (HS-SPME-GC-MS) to detect volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in rat organs, and obtained the biological information of VOCs metabolized by related organs.

The results were published in Analytical Chemistry and selected as the front cover.

The detection of VOCs in human metabolites has the potential to change the way we screen and diagnose organ diseases. This technology is expected to become a non-invasive method for identifying and monitoring diseases in the body. However, whether there are VOCs in normal organs and whether there are differences in VOCs among different organs are still urgent issues to be explored.

In this study, researchers analyzed and detected organs in a controlled laboratory setting using rats that have a high genetic similarity to humans. Using HP-SPME-GC-MS technology, VOCs released from 12 organ tissues were measured, and chromatographic peaks were obtained. Based on the Mann Whitney U test and fold change (FC>2.0), the untargeted analysis revealed that compared with other organs, 7 organs showed differences in VOCs.

This study represented the first systematic report on the differential VOCs found in various organs of rats. The researchers extensively discussed the potential metabolic pathways of these VOCs and their possible role as biomarkers for diseases. The findings provided valuable insights into the understanding of organ-specific VOC profiles and their potential implications in disease diagnosis and monitoring.

In addition, by combining orthogonal partial least squares discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA) with receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC), researchers were able to validate the discriminatory power of the differential VOCs in recognizing each organ.

"This approach provides a reliable and accurate method for organ recognition based on VOC profiling," said Prof. CHU Yannan.

According to the team, the VOCs profiles of healthy organ tissues obtained in this study can serve as a baseline for scientific research such as non-invasive screening and diagnosis of gas biopsy or breath test, disease treatment monitoring, and efficacy evaluation.

Front cover of Analytical Chemistry (Image by LIU Yue)

Schematic diagram of experimental process (Image by LIU Yue)

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