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In Frontiers in immunology ; h5-index 100.0

The metabolic characteristics of COVID-19 disease are still largely unknown. Here, 44 patients with COVID-19 (31 mild COVID-19 patients and 13 severe COVID-19 patients), 42 healthy controls (HC), and 42 patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), were involved in the study to assess their serum metabolomic profiles. We used widely targeted metabolomics based on an ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS). The differentially expressed metabolites in the plasma of mild and severe COVID-19 patients, CAP patients, and HC subjects were screened, and the main metabolic pathways involved were analyzed. Multiple mature machine learning algorithms confirmed that the metabolites performed excellently in discriminating COVID-19 groups from CAP and HC subjects, with an area under the curve (AUC) of 1. The specific dysregulation of AMP, dGMP, sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, and carnitine was observed in the severe COVID-19 group. Moreover, random forest analysis suggested that these metabolites could discriminate between severe COVID-19 patients and mild COVID-19 patients, with an AUC of 0.921. This study may broaden our understanding of pathophysiological mechanisms of COVID-19 and may offer an experimental basis for developing novel treatment strategies against it.

Liu Jun, Li Zhi-Bin, Lu Qi-Qi, Yu Yi, Zhang Shan-Qiang, Ke Pei-Feng, Zhang Fan, Li Ji-Cheng


COVID-19, UPLC-MS/MS, machine learning, potential biomarkers, widely targeted metabolites