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Applications | Pediatrics

Pediatrics

Enhancing the scope of pediatric research for comprehensive child health insights.

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Featured Pediatrics Resources

Infectious Disease and Metabolomics

Metabolomics in Pediatrics

Pediatric research is uniquely challenging due to the rapid changes young patients experience. While genomics and proteomics have provided valuable insights, they sometimes face limitations in capturing the full spectrum of pediatric biological complexity. These challenges are compounded by the need for methodologies that can adapt to the dynamic nature of child growth and development, making it essential to explore approaches that can offer a more complete understanding of pediatric health.

Metabolomics is an invaluable tool in pediatric research, offering a broader perspective that complements existing methodologies. By analyzing the full set of metabolites within a biological system, metabolomics provides insights into real-time changes in children’s metabolic profiles. This approach is particularly effective in identifying biomarkers and understanding disease mechanisms, contributing significantly to the development of more tailored and effective pediatric healthcare strategies.

Infectious Disease

Uncover Functional, Actionable Insights with Metabolomics

Pediatrics disease research are challenged with understanding a rapidly changing biological system. Metabolon can help these researchers by enabling them to capture key metabolic insights at any stage of pediatric development. Global metabolomics panels can identify key biomarkers associated with different developmental states and disease mechanisms. These insights can be translated to actionable biomarkers through targeted metabolomics panels.

Longitudinal Monitoring and Characterization
Predictive Biomarkers for Disease Outcomes
Environmental and Lifestyle Influences on Pediatric Health

Longitudinal Monitoring and Characterization

Through metabolomics, researchers can continuously track a child’s health, identifying early signs of developmental shortfalls or illnesses. For example, W Perng et al. used reduced-rank regression on plasma metabolites to identify sex-specific metabolite predictors of impaired fasting glucose (IFG) in 391 youth participants in the Exploring Perinatal Outcomes among CHildren (EPOCH) cohort. They built four models comprised of metabolite (mostly lipid, amino acid, and carbohydrate metabolism) concentrations and physiological measures, demonstrating that such models show promise in predicting glycemia in youth. Early interventions like this could help decrease the incidence of childhood type 2 diabetes and comorbidities.

Perng W, Hivert M-F, Michelotti G, et al. Metabolomic Predictors of Dysglycemia in Two U.S. Youth Cohorts. Metabolites. 2022; 12(5):404. https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo12050404

Predictive Biomarkers for Disease Outcomes

The identification of specific metabolites assists in early disease detection, disease severity prediction, or treatment outcome prediction. In cases like pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis (MS), metabolomics can help identify biomarkers indicative of an increased risk of relapse and disabliity in children with MS, aiding in preventative care and personalized treatment planning.

Virupakshaiah A, Ladakis DC, Nourbakhsh B, et al. Several serum lipid metabolites are associated with relapse risk in pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis Journal. 2023;29(8):936-944. doi:10.1177/13524585231171517

Environmental and Lifestyle Influences on Pediatric Health

Metabolomics provides insights into the impact of external factors on a child’s health. In the context of asthma, metabolomics can reveal how environmental factors alter metabolic pathways, aiding in the development of targeted interventions. For example, researchers have identified microbiome and microbial metabolite associations with wheeze frequency (both host-derived and microbiome-derived) in children with asthma. Research has also elucidated the impact of vitamin D supplementation on wheeze in asthmatic children, demonstrating genotype-specific metabolite associations to effectiveness of treatment.

Lee-Sarwar K, Dedrick S, Momeni B, et al. Association of the gut microbiome and metabolome with wheeze frequency in childhood asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2022;150(2):325-336. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2022.02.005

Rachel SK, Bo LC, Feng G, et al. The Role of the 17q21 Genotype in the Prevention of Early Childhood Asthma and Recurrent Wheeze by Vitamin D. Eur Respir J. 2019;54(4):1900761. doi:10.1183/13993003.00761-2019

Turi KN, McKennan C, Gebretsadik T, et al. Unconjugated bilirubin is associated with protection from early-life wheeze and childhood asthma. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2021/07/01/ 2021;148(1):128-138. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2020.12.639

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Metabolomics Applications for Pediatrics Health and Disease Research

  • EBiomarker discovery
  • EIdentifying environment-metabolome associations
  • EDisease risk assessment
  • EMonitoring treatment response
  • EMonitoring disease progression
  • EDrug discovery and development
  • EUnderstanding molecular mechanisms of disease
  • EEarly detection of altered pathways
  • EIdentifying microbiome-metabolome associations
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“Research has also suggested the role of metabolome—which represents the downstream functional products of the microbiome, child’s genetic make-up, and immune response—in the pathogenesis of bronchiolitis and asthma.”

Raita, Y., Pérez-Losada, M., Freishtat, R.J. et al.
Integrated omics endotyping of infants with respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis and risk of childhood asthma. Nat Commun 12, 3601 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23859-6

Metabolomics Insights into Pediatric Nutrition and the Gut Microbiome

While the intestinal microbiota is considered to be a relatively stable ecosystem in human adults, the microbial colonization process in early life is heavily intertwined with the maturation of the gastrointestinal tract itself. Therefore, early-life colonization can be considered a fundamental step in healthy development. Several early-life environmental factors have been shown to have a pervasive and long-lasting impact on gut microbiome composition and function, with increased risk for several diseases later in life. One of the most important of these environmental factors is early life nutrition, with several studies demonstrating key microbiome differences and disease risks among breast-fed and formula-fed infants.

pediatrics metabolomics

Figure 1. PCoA (Bray–Curtis) plots (top) illustrate metabolite signals at different collection time points (0–4 wk of age; 8 wk of age; 17 wk of age).  Bar plots (bottom) illustrate the number of significantly different metabolites between each pair of feeding groups.

Metabolomics is an invaluable tool for the study of early life microbiome and metabolome dynamics in response to prebiotics and postbiotics. Working with Metabolon, researchers elucidated the gut microbiomes and metabolome profiles of formula fed infants and infants fed formula supplemented with probiotics and prebiotics, showing that those infants fed supplemented formula had microbiome and metabolome profiles that more closely resembled those of breast-fed infants than strict formula-fed infants. This research demonstrates that metabolic fingerprinting of microbial communities opens the door to the development of novel nutritional strategies for manipulating gut microbiome metabolic output, and, therefore, pediatric health.

​Rodriguez-Herrera A, Tims S, Polman J, et al. Early-life fecal microbiome and metabolome dynamics in response to an intervention with infant formula containing specific prebiotics and postbiotics. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2022;322(6):G571-G582. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00079.2021

Pediatrics Publications and Citations

Metabolon has contributed extensively to publications ranging from basic research to clinical trials.

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