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Identification of Urine Metabolic Biomarkers for Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Disease

  • Chang, Rui1
  • Zhu, Ying1
  • Xu, Jing1
  • Chen, Lin1
  • Su, Guannan1
  • Kijlstra, Aize2
  • Yang, Peizeng1
  • 1 The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing Key Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Chongqing Eye Institute, Chongqing Branch of National Clinical Research Center for Ocular Diseases, Chongqing , (China)
  • 2 University Eye Clinic Maastricht, Maastricht , (Netherlands)
Published Article
Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
Feb 25, 2021
DOI: 10.3389/fcell.2021.637489
  • Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Original Research


The diagnosis of Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada (VKH) disease is mainly based on a complex clinical manifestation while it lacks objective laboratory biomarkers. To explore the potential molecular biomarkers for diagnosis and disease activity in VKH, we performed an untargeted urine metabolomics analysis by ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography equipped with quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UHPLC-Q-TOF/MS). Through univariate and multivariate statistical analysis, we found 9 differential metabolites when comparing VKH patients with healthy controls, and 26 differential metabolites were identified when comparing active VKH patients with inactive VKH patients. Pathway enrichment analysis showed that glycine, serine and threonine metabolism, and arginine and proline metabolism were significantly altered in VKH versus healthy controls. Lysine degradation and biotin metabolism pathways were significantly altered in active VKH versus inactive VKH. Furthermore, the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis revealed that the combination of acetylglycine and gamma-glutamylalanine could differentiate VKH from healthy controls with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.808. A combination of ureidopropionic acid and 5′-phosphoribosyl-5-amino-4-imidazolecarboxamide (AICAR) had an excellent AUC of 0.958 for distinguishing active VKH from inactive VKH. In summary, this study identified abnormal metabolites in urine of patients with VKH disease. Further studies are needed to confirm whether these metabolites are specific for this disease.

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