WP3: Development of new diagnostic methods

Urine NMR‑based TB metabolic fingerprinting for the diagnosis of TB in children

Patricia Comella‑del‑Barrio, José Luis Izquierdo‑Garcia, Jacqueline Gautier, Mariette Jean Coute Doresca, Ramón Campos‑Olivas, Clara M. Santiveri, Beatriz Muriel‑Moreno, Cristina Prat‑Aymerich, Rosa Abellana, Tomas M. Pérez‑Porcuna, Luis E. Cuevas, Jesús Ruiz‑Cabello & José Domínguez

Sci Rep 2021 Jun 7;11(1):12006; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-91545-0


Tuberculosis (TB) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in children, and early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to reduce long‑term morbidity and mortality. In this study, we explore whether urine nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)‑based metabolomics could be used to identify differences in the metabolic response of children with different diagnostic certainty of TB. We included 62 children with signs and symptoms of TB and 55 apparently healthy children. Six of the children with presumptive TB had bacteriologically confirmed TB, 52 children with unconfirmed TB, and 4 children with unlikely TB. Urine metabolic fingerprints were identified using high‑ and low‑field proton NMR platforms and assessed with pattern recognition techniques such as principal components analysis and partial least squares discriminant analysis. We observed differences in the metabolic fingerprint of children with bacteriologically confirmed and unconfirmed TB compared to children with unlikely TB (p = 0.041 and p = 0.013, respectively). Moreover, children with unconfirmed TB with X‑rays compatible with TB showed differences in the metabolic fingerprint compared to children with non‑pathological X‑rays (p = 0.009). Differences in the metabolic fingerprint in children with different diagnostic certainty of TB could contribute to a more accurate characterisation of TB in the paediatric population. The use of metabolomics could be useful to improve the prediction of TB progression and diagnosis in children.