Metabolomics. 2024 Mar 6;20(2):36. doi: 10.1007/s11306-024-02089-z.


INTRODUCTION: Sepsis is a highly morbid condition characterized by multi-organ dysfunction resulting from dysregulated inflammation in response to acute infection. Mitochondrial dysfunction may contribute to sepsis pathogenesis, but quantifying mitochondrial dysfunction remains challenging.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the extent to which circulating markers of mitochondrial dysfunction are increased in septic shock, and their relationship to severity and mortality.

METHODS: We performed both full-scan and targeted (known markers of genetic mitochondrial disease) metabolomics on plasma to determine markers of mitochondrial dysfunction which distinguish subjects with septic shock (n = 42) from cardiogenic shock without infection (n = 19), bacteremia without sepsis (n = 18), and ambulatory controls (n = 19) – the latter three being conditions in which mitochondrial function, proxied by peripheral oxygen consumption, is presumed intact.

RESULTS: Nine metabolites were significantly increased in septic shock compared to all three comparator groups. This list includes N-formyl-L-methionine (f-Met), a marker of dysregulated mitochondrial protein translation, and N-lactoyl-phenylalanine (lac-Phe), representative of the N-lactoyl-amino acids (lac-AAs), which are elevated in plasma of patients with monogenic mitochondrial disease. Compared to lactate, the clinical biomarker used to define septic shock, there was greater separation between survivors and non-survivors of septic shock for both f-Met and the lac-AAs measured within 24 h of ICU admission. Additionally, tryptophan was the one metabolite significantly decreased in septic shock compared to all other groups, while its breakdown product kynurenate was one of the 9 significantly increased.

CONCLUSION: Future studies which validate the measurement of lac-AAs and f-Met in conjunction with lactate could define a sepsis subtype characterized by mitochondrial dysfunction.

PMID:38446263 | DOI:10.1007/s11306-024-02089-z