Qualitative serum organic acid profiles of HIV-infected individuals not on antiretroviral treatment
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- Williams, A., Koekemoer, G., Lindeque, Z. et al. Metabolomics (2012) 8: 804. doi:10.1007/s11306-011-0376-2
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The first application of gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC–MS) metabolomics to the analysis of organic acid profiles in sera of asymptomatic human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals (n = 18) compared to uninfected controls (n = 21), is reported here. Several organic acids are well-established diagnostic biomarkers of mitochondrial dysfunction, making the analysis of the organic acid metabolome well suited to monitoring the progressive disruption of mitochondrial structure and function during HIV infection. Using a multifaceted analytical-bioinformatics procedure, at least 10 of these metabolites could be linked to (1) disrupted mitochondrial metabolism, (2) changes in lipid metabolism and (3) oxidative stress, all of which are aberrations caused by HIV infection. Because of the role of the mitochondria in apoptosis, higher levels of this type of cell death in infected (compared to uninfected) individuals was used to support GC–MS data. This study demonstrates that mass spectrometry metabolomics detects biomarkers of mitochondrial dysfunction which could potentially be developed into indicators of HIV infection, perhaps also to monitor disease progression and the response to antiretroviral treatment.