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Open access

Jia Li, Yan Zhao, Caoxin Huang, Zheng Chen, Xiulin Shi, Long Li, Zhong Chen and Xuejun Li

Objective

Exercise benefits people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The aim of this study was to identify a panel of biomarkers and to provide the possible mechanism for the effect of exercise on NAFLD patients via an untargeted mass spectrometry-based serum metabolomics study.

Methods

NAFLD patients were classified randomly into a control group (n = 74) and a 6-month vigorous exercise (n = 68) group. Differences in serum metabolic profiles were analyzed using untargeted ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-Q-TOF/MS) technology. Principal component analysis (PCA) and orthogonal partial least squares discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA) were used to validate the differences between these two groups, and altered metabolites were obtained by ANOVA (fold change >2, P < 0.05) and identified with the online database Metlin and an in-house database.

Results

Metabolic profiling and multiple statistical analyses of the serum samples indicated significant differences between the NAFLD patients in the control and the 6-month vigorous exercise groups. Finally, 36 metabolites were identified between the control vs exercise groups. These metabolites were mainly associated with glycerophospholipid- and sphingolipid-related pathways.

Conclusion

Our study demonstrates that glycerophospholipid and sphingolipid alterations may contribute to the mechanism underlying the effect of exercise on NAFLD patients. A LC-MS-based metabolomics approach has a potential value for screening exercise-induced biomarkers.

Open access

Jintao Hu, Qingbo Chen, Xiao Ding, Xin Zheng, Xuefeng Tang, Song Li and Hui Yang

Objective

Many cancer cells cannot survive without exogenous glutamine (Gln); however, cancer cells expressing glutamine synthetase (GS) do not have this restriction. Previous metabolomics studies have indicated that glutamine metabolism is altered during pituitary tumorigenesis. However, the main role of Gln in pituitary adenoma (PA) pathophysiology remains unknown. The aim of this study was to evaluate the expression of GS and the main role of Gln in human PAs.

Methods

We used cell proliferation assay and flow cytometry to assess the effect of Gln depletion on three different pituitary cell lines and human primary PA cells. We then investigated the expression level of Gln synthetase (GS) in 24 human PA samples. At last, we used LC-MS/MS to identify the differences in metabolites of PA cells after the blockage of both endogenous and exogenous Gln.

Results

PA cell lines showed different sensitivities to Gln starvation, and the sensitivity is correlated with GS expression level. GS expressed in 21 out of the 24 human PA samples. Furthermore, a positive p53 and ki-67 index was correlated with a higher GS expression level (P < 0.05). Removal of both endogenous and exogenous Gln from GS-expressing PA cells resulted in blockage of nucleotide metabolism and cell cycle arrest.

Conclusions

Our data indicate that GS is needed for PA cells to undergo proliferation during Gln deprivation, and most human PA cells express GS and might have a negative response to exogenous Gln depletion. Moreover, Gln is mainly responsible for nucleotide metabolism in the proliferation of GS-expressing pituitary tumor cells.