NMR-based metabolomic urinalysis: A rapid screening test for urinary tract infection - Abstract

BACKGROUND: Urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common bacterial infections in humans; however, there is no accurate and fast quantitative test to detect UTI.

Dipstick urinalysis is semi-quantitative with a limited diagnostic accuracy, while urine culture is accurate but takes time. We described a quantitative biochemical method for the diagnosis of bacteriuria using a single marker.

METHODS: We compared the urine metabolomes from 88 patients with bacterial UTI and 61 controls using (1)H NMR spectroscopy followed by principal component analysis (PCA) and orthogonal partial least squares-discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA). The biomarker identified was subsequently validated using independent samples.

RESULTS: The urine acetic acid/creatinine (mmol/mmol) level was determined to be the most discriminatory marker for bacterial UTI with an area-under-receiver operating characteristic curve=0.97, sensitivity=91% and specificity=95% at the optimal cutoff 0.03 mmol/mmol. For validation, 60 samples were recruited prospectively. Using the optimal cutoff for acetic acid/creatinine, this method showed sensitivity=96%, specificity=94%, positive predictive value=92%, negative predictive value=97% and an overall accuracy=95%. The diagnostic performance was superior to dipstick urinalysis or microscopy. In addition, we also observed an increase of urinary trimethylamine (TMA) in patients with Escherichia coli-associated UTI. TMA is a mammalian-microbial co-metabolite and the high level of TMA generated is related to the bacterial enzyme, trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) reductase which reduces TMAO to TMA.

CONCLUSIONS: Urine acetic acid is a neglected metabolite that can be used for rapid diagnosis of UTI and TMA can be used for etiologic diagnosis of UTI. With the introduction of NMR-based clinical analyzers to clinical laboratories, NMR-based urinalysis can be translated for clinical use.

Written by:
Lam CW, Law CY, To KK, Cheung SK, Lee KC, Sze KH, Leung KF, Yuen KY.   Are you the author?
Department of Pathology, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China; Research Centre of Infection and Immunology Hong Kong, China; State Key Laboratory for Emerging Infectious Diseases Hong Kong, China; Department of Microbiology, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.  

Reference: Clin Chim Acta. 2014 Sep 25;436:217-23.
doi: 10.1016/j.cca.2014.05.014

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 24909875

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