, 15:77 | Cite as

Metabolomic profiling for identification of potential biomarkers in patients with dermatomyositis

  • Tie Zhang
  • Jing Xu
  • Yang LiuEmail author
  • Jia LiuEmail author
Original Article



Dermatomyositis (DM) is a rare autoimmune myopathy characterized by skin lesions, proximal muscle weakness and muscle inflammation. The pathogenesis of DM is unclear, and identification of reliable biomarkers for early diagnosis of DM is critical for design of a specific therapy for this disease.


To find and identify potential serum biomarkers in DM patients.


We performed an untargeted metabolomic approach using UHPLC-MS/MS. The blood serum metabolomic profiles of 26 DM patients and 26 healthy controls were collected. Multivariate analysis of the metabolomic profile was applied to differentiate DM patients and controls and to find potential biomarkers.


A significantly disturbed metabolic profile of DM patients was observed. Pathway analysis showed that aminoacyl-tRNA biosynthesis, phenylalanine, tyrosine and tryptophan biosynthesis, and nitrogen metabolism are the most prominently altered pathways in DM. Receiver operating characteristic curve indicated that glutamine, methionine, isoleucine, tryptophan, glutamic acid, indole, protocatechuic acid, and phenylalanine were potential biomarkers for DM diagnosis in terms of both sensitivity and specificity.


Our study provides new insight into underlying mechanisms of DM, and we suggest that we should pay more attention to these metabolic pathways in the prevention and treatment of DM.


Dermatomyositis Metabolomics LC–MS Metabolic pathways Biomarker 



We thank all participants in this study and the clinical doctors from the China-Japan Friendship Hospital for collection of samples. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants 81301801 and 81430056), Science and Technology Planning Project of Chaoyang District, Beijing (CYSF1835), R&D Infrastructure and Facility Development Program of Fujian (2018H2002), Industry University Research Project of Fujian (2018H6101), and the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China (Grant W2015CAE016).

Author contributions

TZ and JX provided and pretreated the samples; JL performed the LC-MS analysis; JL and YL performed the data analysis and co-wrote the paper. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the China-Japan Friendship Hospital.

Supplementary material

11306_2019_1539_MOESM1_ESM.docx (237 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 236 kb)


  1. Bendewald, M. J., Wetter, D. A., Li, X., et al. (2010). Incidence of dermatomyositis and clinically amyopathic dermatomyositis: A population-based study in Olmsted County, Minnesota. Archives of Dermatology, 146, 26–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bernatsky, S., Joseph, L., Pineau, C. A., et al. (2009). Estimating the prevalence of polymyositis and dermatomyositis from administrative data: Age, sex and regional differences. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 68, 1192–1196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bohan, A., & Peter, J. B. (1975a). Polymyositis and dermatomyositis (first of two parts). New England Journal of Medicine, 292, 344–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bohan, A., & Peter, J. B. (1975b). Polymyositis and dermatomyositis (second of two parts). New England Journal of Medicine, 292, 403–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cooper, G. S., & Stroehla, B. C. (2003). The epidemiology of autoimmune diseases. Autoimmunity Reviews, 2, 119–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dalakas, M. C. (1991). Polymyositis, dermatomyositis and inclusion-body myositis. New England Journal of Medicine, 325, 1487–1498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dalakas, M. C., & Hohlfeld, R. (2003). Polymyositis and dermatomyositis. Lancet, 362, 971–982.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Eisenberg, D., Almassy, R. J., Janson, C. A., et al. (1987). Some evolutionary relationships of the primary biological catalysts glutamine synthetase and RuBisCO. Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology, 52, 483–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gostner, J. M., Becker, K., Kofler, H., et al. (2016). Tryptophan metabolism in allergic disorders. International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, 169, 203–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Lai, H. S., Lee, J. C., Lee, P. H., et al. (2005). Plasma free amino acid profile in cancer patients. Seminars in Cancer Biology, 15, 267–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Liaw, S. H., Pan, C., & Eisenberg, D. (1993). Feedback inhibition of fully unadenylylated glutamine synthetase from Salmonella typhimurium by glycine, alanine, and serine. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 90, 4996–5000.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lichter-Konecki, U., Hipke, C., & Konecki, D. (1999). Human phenylalanine hydroxylase gene expression in kidney and other nonhepatic tissues. Molecular Genetics and Metabolism, 316, 308–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Liesenfeld, D. B., Habermann, N., Owen, R. W., et al. (2013). Review of mass spectrometry-based metabolomics in cancer research. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, 22, 2182–2201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mainetti, C., Terziroli Beretta-Piccoli, B., & Selmi, C. (2017). Cutaneous manifestations of dermatomyositis: A comprehensive review. Clinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology, 53, 337–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Neurauter, G., Grahmann, A. V., Klieber, M., et al. (2008). Serum phenylalanine concentrations in patients with ovarian carcinoma correlate with concentrations of immune activation markers and of isoprostane-8. Cancer Letters, 272, 141–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Olazagasti, J. M., Baez, P. J., Wetter, D. A., et al. (2015). Cancer risk in dermatomyositis: A meta-analysis of cohort studies. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 16, 89–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Palego, L., Betti, L., Rossi, A., et al. (2016). Tryptophan biochemistry: Structural, nutritional, metabolic, and medical aspects in humans. Journal of Amino Acids, 2016, 8952520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Palmieri, E. M., Spera, I., Menga, A., et al. (2014). Glutamine synthetase desensitizes differentiated adipocytes to proinflammatory stimuli by raising intracellular glutamine levels. FEBS Letters, 588, 4807–4814.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Plotz, P. H., Dalakas, M., Leff, R. L., et al. (1989). Current concepts in the idiopathic inflammatory myopathies: Polymyositis, dermatomyositis, and related disorders. Annals of Internal Medicine, 111, 143–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rabinowitz, J. D., Purdy, J. G., Vastag, L., et al. (2011). Metabolomics in drug target discovery. Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology, 76, 235–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Schnackenberg, L. K. (2007). Global metabolic profiling and its role in systems biology to advance personalized medicine in the 21st century. Expert Review of Molecular Diagnostics, 7, 247–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Tolstikov, V. (2016). Metabolomics: Bridging the gap between pharmaceutical development and population health. Metabolites, 6, E20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Tsugawa, H., Cajka, T., Kind, T., et al. (2015). MS-DIAL: Data-independent MS/MS deconvolution for comprehensive metabolome analysis. Nature Methods, 12, 523–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Xia, J., Psychogios, N., Young, N., et al. (2009). MetaboAnalyst: A web server for metabolomic data analysis and interpretation. Nucleic Acids Research, 37, W652–660.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of China-Japan Friendship HospitalBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of EchocadiographyThe First Hospital of JiLin UniversityChangchunPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of Pathology, Institute of Systems Biomedicine, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Beijing Key Laboratory of Tumor Systems BiologyPeking University Health Science CenterBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.School of Resources and Chemical EngineeringSanming UniversitySanmingPeople’s Republic of China
  5. 5.Fujian Engineering Research Center for Advanced Fluorine-Containing MaterialsSanmingPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations