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In Computational and structural biotechnology journal

Background : Neonatal sepsis with meningoencephalitis is a common complication of sepsis, which is a leading cause of neonatal death and neurological dysfunction. Early identification of neonatal sepsis with meningoencephalitis is particularly important for reducing brain damage. We recruited 70 patients with neonatal sepsis, 42 of which were diagnosed as meningoencephalitis, and collected cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum samples. The purpose of this study was to find neonatal sepsis with meningoencephalitis-related markers using unbiased metabolomics technology and artificial intelligence analysis based on machine learning methods.

Results : We found that the characteristics of neonatal sepsis with meningoencephalitis were manifested mainly as significant decreases in the concentrations of homo-l-arginine, creatinine, and other arginine metabolites in serum and CSF, suggesting possible changes in nitric oxide synthesis. The antioxidants taurine and proline in the serum of the neonatal sepsis with meningoencephalitis increased significantly, suggesting abnormal oxidative stress. Potentially harmful bile salts and aromatic compounds were significantly increased in the serum of the group with meningoencephalitis. We compared different machine learning methods and found that the lasso algorithm performed best. Combining the lasso and XGBoost algorithms was successful in predicting the concentration of homo-l-arginine in CSF per the concentrations of metabolite markers in the serum.

Conclusions : On the basis of machine learning combined with analysis of the serum and CSF metabolomes, we found metabolite markers related to neonatal sepsis with meningoencephalitis. The characteristics of neonatal sepsis with meningoencephalitis were manifested mainly by changes in arginine metabolism and related changes in creatinine metabolism.

Zhang Peng, Wang Zhangxing, Qiu Huixian, Zhou Wenhao, Wang Mingbang, Cheng Guoqiang


Meningoencephalitis, Metabolomics, arginine, machine learning, Neonatal sepsis