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1H NMR Metabolomics Analysis of Glioblastoma Subtypes

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Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common form of malignant glioma, characterized by unpredictable clinical behaviors that suggest distinct molecular subtypes. With the tumour metabolic phenotype being one of the hallmarks of cancer we have set upon to investigate whether GBMs show differences in their metabolic profiles. 1H NMR analysis was performed on metabolite extracts from a selection of nine glioblastoma cell lines. Analysis was performed directly on spectral data and on relative concentrations of metabolites obtained from spectra using a multivariate regression method developed in this work. Both qualitative and quantitative sample clustering have shown that cell lines can be divided into four groups for which the most significantly different metabolites have been determined. Analysis shows that some of the major cancer metabolic markers (such as choline, lactate and glutamine) have significantly dissimilar concentrations in different GBM groups. The obtained lists of metabolic markers for subgroups were correlated with gene expression data for the same cell lines. Metabolic analysis generally agrees with gene expression measurements and in several cases we have shown in detail how the metabolic results can be correlated with the analysis of gene expression. Combined gene expression and metabolomics analysis have shown differential expression of transporters of metabolic markers in these cells as well as some of the major metabolic pathways leading to accumulation of metabolites. Obtained list of marker metabolites can be leveraged for subtype determination in glioblastomas.

The article is published online in The Journal of Biological Chemistry and is free to access.