Metabolomics in early life and the association with body composition at age 2 years

Inge A.L.P. van Beijsterveldt, Stuart G. Snowden, Pernille Neve Myers, Kirsten S. de Fluiter, Bert van de Heijning, Susanne Brix, Ken K. Ong, David B. Dunger, Anita C.S. Hokken-Koelega*, Albert Koulman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background and Objectives: Early life is a critical window for adiposity programming. Metabolic-profile in early life may reflect this programming and correlate with later life adiposity. We investigated if metabolic-profile at 3 months of age is predictive for body composition at 2 years and if there are differences between boys and girls and between infant feeding types. Methods: In 318 healthy term-born infants, we determined body composition with skinfold measurements and abdominal ultrasound at 3 months and 2 years of age. High-throughput-metabolic-profiling was performed on 3-month-blood-samples. Using random-forest-machine-learning-models, we studied if the metabolic-profile at 3 months can predict body composition outcomes at 2 years of age. Results: Plasma metabolite-profile at 3 months was found to predict body composition at 2 years, based on truncal: peripheral-fat-skinfold-ratio (T:P-ratio), with a predictive value of 75.8%, sensitivity of 100% and specificity of 50%. Predictive value was higher in boys (Q2 = 0.322) than girls (Q2 = 0.117). Of the 15 metabolite variables most strongly associated with T:P-ratio, 11 were also associated with visceral fat at 2 years of age. Conclusion: Several plasma metabolites (LysoPC(22:2), dimethylarginine and others) at 3 months associate with body composition outcome at 2 years. These results highlight the importance of the first months of life for adiposity programming.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12859
JournalPediatric obesity
Issue number3
Early online date13 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the EU Commission to the JPI HDHL program ‘Call III Biomarkers’ for the project: BioFN – Biomarkers for Infant Fat Mass Development and Nutrition (Grant agreement No 696295), administrated in Denmark by Innovation Fund Denmark (grant number 4203‐00005B), Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMW) (grant number 529051013), in the UK by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/P028195/1) and Danone Nutricia Research, The Netherlands (to Rotterdam). AK is supported by the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre (146281) and KKO is funded by the Medical Research Council (MC_UU_00006/2). Funding information

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Pediatric Obesity published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of World Obesity Federation.


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