Aim: The aims of the present study were to depict the serum metabolic characteristics of hepatitis B virus (HBV)-infected cirrhosis and alcoholic cirrhosis patients, and to find the specific serum biomarkers associated with the diseases.
Methods: A pilot metabolic profiling study was conducted using three groups: HBV-infected cirrhosis patients (n = 21), alcoholic cirrhosis patients (n = 20) and healthy controls (n = 20). 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)-based metabonomics was used to obtain the serum metabolic profiles of the samples. The acquired data were processed by multivariate principal component analysis (PCA) and orthogonal partial least-squares-discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA). The discriminatory metabolites between HBV-infected cirrhosis and alcoholic cirrhosis were further validated by classical biochemical assays.
Results: The OPLS-DA model was capable of distinguishing between HBV-infected and alcoholic cirrhosis patients. Five metabolites, creatine, acetoacetate, isobutyrate, glutamine and glutamate, were identified as the most influential factors to compare HBV-infected cirrhosis and alcoholic cirrhosis. The validation tests showed that the changes of the five metabolites were well coincident with the results of NMR.
Conclusion: NMR spectra combined with pattern recognition analysis techniques may provide a new way to explore the pathogenesis of HBV-infected and alcoholic cirrhosis patients.