Metabolite Identification Using Infrared Ion Spectroscopy─Novel Biomarkers for Pyridoxine-Dependent Epilepsy

Rianne E van Outersterp, Udo F H Engelke, Jona Merx, Giel Berden, Mathias Paul, Thomas Thomulka, Albrecht Berkessel, Marleen C D G Huigen, Leo A J Kluijtmans, Jasmin Mecinović, Floris P J T Rutjes, Clara D M van Karnebeek, Ron A Wevers, Thomas J Boltje*, Karlien L M Coene*, Jonathan Martens*, Jos Oomens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Untargeted liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS)-based metabolomics strategies are being increasingly applied in metabolite screening for a wide variety of medical conditions. The long-standing "grand challenge" in the utilization of this approach is metabolite identification─confidently determining the chemical structures of m/z-detected unknowns. Here, we use a novel workflow based on the detection of molecular features of interest by high-throughput untargeted LC-MS analysis of patient body fluids combined with targeted molecular identification of those features using infrared ion spectroscopy (IRIS), effectively providing diagnostic IR fingerprints for mass-isolated targets. A significant advantage of this approach is that in silico-predicted IR spectra of candidate chemical structures can be used to suggest the molecular structure of unknown features, thus mitigating the need for the synthesis of a broad range of physical reference standards. Pyridoxine-dependent epilepsy (PDE-ALDH7A1) is an inborn error of lysine metabolism, resulting from a mutation in the ALDH7A1 gene that leads to an accumulation of toxic levels of α-aminoadipic semialdehyde (α-AASA), piperideine-6-carboxylate (P6C), and pipecolic acid in body fluids. While α-AASA and P6C are known biomarkers for PDE in urine, their instability makes them poor candidates for diagnostic analysis from blood, which would be required for application in newborn screening protocols. Here, we use combined untargeted metabolomics-IRIS to identify several new biomarkers for PDE-ALDH7A1 that can be used for diagnostic analysis in urine, plasma, and cerebrospinal fluids and that are compatible with analysis in dried blood spots for newborn screening. The identification of these novel metabolites has directly provided novel insights into the pathophysiology of PDE-ALDH7A1.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number46
Pages (from-to)15340-15348
Publication statusPublished - 23. Nov 2021


  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase
  • Biomarkers
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Epilepsy/diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Metabolomics


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