Urine metabolomics case-control studies of childhood asthma have demonstrated a discriminative ability. Here, we investigated whether urine metabolic profiles from healthy neonates were associated with the development of asthma in childhood. Untargeted metabolomics by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry was applied to urine samples collected at age 4 weeks in 171 and 161 healthy neonates born from mothers with asthma from the COPSAC2000 and COPSAC2010 cohorts, respectively, where persistent wheeze/asthma was prospectively diagnosed using a symptom-based algorithm. Univariate and multivariate analyses were applied to investigate differences in metabolic profiles between children who developed asthma and healthy children. Univariate analysis showed 63 and 87 metabolites (q-value < 0.15) in COPSAC2000 and COPSAC2010, respectively, which is promising for discriminating between asthmatic and healthy children. Of those, 14 metabolites were common among the two cohorts. Multivariate random forest and projection to latent structures discriminant analyses confirmed the discriminatory capacity of the metabolic profiles in both cohorts with estimated errors in prediction equal to 35% and AUCpred > 0.60. Database search enabled annotation of three discriminative features: a glucoronidated compound (steroid), 3-hydroxytetradecanedioic acid (fatty acid), and taurochenodeoxycholate-3-sulfate (bile acid). The urine metabolomics profiles from healthy neonates were associated with the development of childhood asthma, but further research is needed to understand underlying metabolic pathways.
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