Towards early risk biomarkers: serum metabolic signature in childhood predicts cardio-metabolic risk in adulthood.

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washington; seattle; isb


BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular diseases may originate in childhood. Biomarkers identifying individuals with increased risk for disease are needed to support early detection and to optimise prevention strategies.

METHODS: In this prospective study, by applying a machine learning to high throughput NMR-based metabolomics data, we identified circulating childhood metabolic predictors of adult cardiovascular disease risk (MetS score) in a cohort of 396 females, followed from childhood (mean age 11·2 years) to early adulthood (mean age 18·1 years). The results obtained from the discovery cohort were validated in a large longitudinal birth cohort of females and males followed from puberty to adulthood (n = 2664) and in four cross-sectional data sets (n = 6341).

FINDINGS: The identified childhood metabolic signature included three circulating biomarkers, glycoprotein acetyls (GlycA), large high-density lipoprotein phospholipids (L-HDL-PL), and the ratio of apolipoprotein B to apolipoprotein A-1 (ApoB/ApoA) that were associated with increased cardio-metabolic risk in early adulthood (AUC = 0·641‒0·802, all p

INTERPRETATION: These results provide evidence for the utility of a circulating metabolomics panel to identify children and adolescents at risk for future cardiovascular disease, to whom preventive measures and follow-up could be indicated.

FUNDING: This study was financially supported by the Academy of Finland, Ministry of Education of Finland and University of Jyv€askyl€a, the National Nature Science Foundation of China (Grant 31571219), the 111 Project (B17029), the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Zhiyuan Foundation (Grant CP2014013), China Postdoc Scholarship Council (201806230001), the Food and Health Bureau of Hong Kong SAR's Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF grants 15162161 and 07181036) and the CUHK Direct Grants for Research (2016¢033 and 2018¢034), and a postdoctoral fellowship from K. Carole Ellison (to T.W.). The UK Medical Research Council and Wellcome (Grant ref: 217065/Z/19/Z) and the University of Bristol provide core support for ALSPAC. NFBC1966 received financial support from University of Oulu Grant no. 24000692, Oulu University Hospital Grant no. 24301140, ERDF European Regional Development Fund Grant no. 539/2010 A31592. This work was supported by European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme LongITools 874739.

Clinical Institute

Women & Children

Clinical Institute

Cardiovascular (Heart)






Institute for Systems Biology