Systematic metabolomic studies identified adult adiposity biomarkers with acetylglycine associated with fat loss in vivo

Published: 11 April 2023| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/rhm2b8hz75.1
KuanJui Su


Obesity is associated with various adverse health outcomes. Body fat (BF) distribution is recognized as an important factor of negative health consequences of obesity. Although metabolomics studies, mainly focused on body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference, have explored the biological mechanisms involved in the development of obesity, these proxy composite measures are not accurate and cannot reflect BF distribution, and thus may hinder accurate assessment of metabolic alterations and differential risk of metabolic disorders among individuals presenting adiposity differently throughout the body. Thus, the exact relations between metabolites and BF remain to be elucidated. Here, we aim to examine the associations of metabolites and metabolic pathways with BF traits which reflect BF distribution. We performed systematic untargeted serum metabolite profiling and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) whole body fat scan for 517 Chinese women. We jointly analyzed DXA-derived four BF phenotypes to detect cross-phenotype metabolite associations and to prioritize important metabolomic factors. Topology-based pathway analysis was used to identify important BF-related biological processes. Finally, we explored the relationships of the identified BF-related candidate metabolites with BF traits in different sex and ethnicity through two independent cohorts. Acetylglycine, the top distinguished finding, was validated for its obesity resistance effect through in vivo studies of various diet-induced obese (DIO) mice. Eighteen metabolites and fourteen pathways were discovered to be associated with BF phenotypes. Six of the metabolites were validated in varying sex and ethnicity. The obesity-resistant effects of acetylglycine were observed to be highly robust and generalizable in both human and DIO mice. These findings demonstrate the importance of metabolites associated with BF distribution patterns and several biological pathways that may contribute to obesity and obesity-related disease etiology, prevention, and intervention. Acetylglycine is highlighted as a potential therapeutic candidate for preventing excessive adiposity in future studies.



Tulane University


Health Sciences