OBJECTIVE: To identify new biomarkers of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) in preterm neonates.
STUDY DESIGN: Metabolomic study of prospectively collected tracheal aspirate (TA) samples from preterm neonates admitted in 2 neonatal intensive care units measured by a mass spectroscopy-based assay and analysed using partial least squares-discriminant analysis.
RESULTS: We evaluated 160 TA samples from 68 neonates, 44 with BPD and 24 without BPD in the first week of life. A cluster of 53 metabolites was identified as characteristic of BPD, with 18 select metabolites being highly significant in the separation of BPD versus No BPD. To control for the gestational age (GA) differences, we did a sub-group analyses, and noted that the amino acids histidine, glutamic acid, citrulline, glycine and isoleucine levels were higher in neonates with BPD. In addition, acylcarnitines C16-OH and C18:1-OH were also higher in neonates who developed BPD, but especially in the most preterm infants (neonates with GA < 27 weeks).
CONCLUSION: Metabolomics is a promising approach to identify novel specific biomarkers for BPD.