Asthma is a heterogeneous disease with diverse severity and represents a considerable socio-economic burden. Exhaled Breath Condensate (EBC) is a biofluid directly obtained from the airway lining fluid non-invasively.
We attempted to discriminate severe from mild-to-moderate asthma using EBC metabolomics based on both NMR and UHPLC-MS techniques.
36 patients were included in this study (15 patients with severe and 21 with mild-to-moderate asthma). EBC was collected and analyzed using both NMR and UHPLC-MS techniques for possible metabolites.
Using PLS and oPLS analysis for the UHPLC-MS data, no metabolite was found to be sufficient for the discrimination of asthma severity. However, when another PLS-regression model was applied five metabolites were found to discriminate severe from mild-to-moderate asthma. Amino-acid lysine was the only metabolite that discriminated the two study groups using NMR data (p=0.04, t-test with Welch’s correction, AUC 0.66).
EBC is an easily available biofluid which directly represents the lower airways but difficult-to-use for metabolomic analysis. Our study presents some encouraging findings for the discrimination of asthma severity subgroups using EBC metabolomics but more well-designed studies with a higher number of patients need to be conducted.
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