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Association between metabolic profiles in urine and bone mineral density of pre- and postmenopausal Chinese women

Yu, Lisha, MS1; Qi, Huanhuan, PhD1; An, Guohua, PhD2; Bao, Jun, MD3; Ma, Bo, PhD1; Zhu, Jianwei, MS4; Ouyang, Gang, MD3; Zhang, Pengling, MD3; Fan, Hongwei, MD5; Zhang, Qi, PhD1

doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001158
Original Articles

Objective: In the present study, we aimed to characterize the pathological development of menopausal osteoporosis, as well as to explore potential biomarkers and metabolic pathways involved in osteoporosis.

Methods: Urine samples from 322 female participants categorized by menopause status and different bone conditions were collected and analyzed based on a gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) approach. Multivariate and univariate statistical analyses were carried out for urinary metabolomic profile characterization and comparison.

Results: Seventeen metabolites in the low bone mineral density (BMD) groups were clearly differentiated from those in normal BMD groups. Among these 17 differentiating metabolites, taurine, β-alanine, and 5-hydroxycaproic acid were found to be potential biomarkers of osteoporosis. The taurine metabolic pathway and the β-alanine metabolic pathway were found to be related to menopause and bone loss.

Conclusions: Based on the GC–MS metabolomic platform, four typical pathological phases during the progression of postmenopausal osteoporosis were described. Several differentiating metabolites and metabolic pathways were found to be closely related to the pathology of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Our results provided a solid foundation for further studies on early diagnosis and pathomechanistic evaluation.

1College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nanjing Tech University, Nanjing, People's Republic of China

2Division of Pharmaceutics and Translational Therapeutics, College of Pharmacy, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

3Jiangsu Province Geriatric Hospital, Nanjing, People's Republic of China

4Institute of Advanced Materials, Nanjing Tech University, Nanjing, People's Republic of China

5Department of Clinical Pharmacology Lab, Nanjing First Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, People's Republic of China.

Address correspondence to: Qi Zhang, PhD, College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nanjing Tech University, 5 Xinmofan Road, Nanjing 210009, China. E-mail:; Hongwei Fan, MD, Department of Clinical Pharmacology Lab, Nanjing First Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, 68 Changle Road, Nanjing 210006, People's Republic of China. E-mail:

Received 8 March, 2018

Revised 10 May, 2018

Accepted 10 May, 2018

LY and HQ equally contributed to this study.

Funding/support: Specialized Research Fund for the Clinical Medicine of Jiangsu Province (Grant No. SBL201330086); Jiangsu Synergetic Innovation Center for Advanced Bio-Manufacture (Grant No. XTD1819); National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 81302835).

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

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© 2019 by The North American Menopause Society.