Microbial-mammalian cometabolites dominate the age-associated urinary metabolic phenotype in Taiwanese and American populations

Jonathan R. Swann, Konstantina Spagou, Matthew Lewis, Jeremy K. Nicholson, Dana A. Glei, Teresa E. Seeman, Christopher L. Coe, Noreen Goldman, Carol D. Ryff, Maxine Weinstein, Elaine Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Understanding the metabolic processes associated with aging is key to developing effective management and treatment strategies for age-related diseases. We investigated the metabolic profiles associated with age in a Taiwanese and an American population. 1H NMR spectral profiles were generated for urine specimens collected from the Taiwanese Social Environment and Biomarkers of Aging Study (SEBAS; n = 857; age 54-91 years) and the Mid-Life in the USA study (MIDUS II; n = 1148; age 35-86 years). Multivariate and univariate linear projection methods revealed some common age-related characteristics in urinary metabolite profiles in the American and Taiwanese populations, as well as some distinctive features. In both cases, two metabolites-4-cresyl sulfate (4CS) and phenylacetylglutamine (PAG)-were positively associated with age. In addition, creatine and β-hydroxy-β- methylbutyrate (HMB) were negatively correlated with age in both populations (p < 4 × 10-6). These age-associated gradients in creatine and HMB reflect decreasing muscle mass with age. The systematic increase in PAG and 4CS was confirmed using ultraperformance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS). Both are products of concerted microbial-mammalian host cometabolism and indicate an age-related association with the balance of host-microbiome metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3166-3180
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 5 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


  • 4-cresyl sulfate
  • NMR spectroscopy
  • age
  • metabolic profiling
  • phenylacetylglutamine
  • sex


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