Plasma Metabolomic and Lipidomic Profiling of Metabolic Dysfunction-Associated Fatty Liver Disease in Humans Using an Untargeted Multiplatform Approach

Xiangping Lin, Xinyu Liu, Mohamed N. Triba, Nadia Bouchemal, Zhicheng Liu, Douglas I. Walker, Tony Palama, Laurence Le Moyec, Marianne Ziol, Nada Helmy, Corinne Vons, Guowang Xu, Carina Prip-Buus, Philippe Savarin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD) is a complex disorder that is implicated in dysregulations in multiple biological pathways, orchestrated by interactions between genetic predisposition, metabolic syndromes and environmental factors. The limited knowledge of its pathogenesis is one of the bottlenecks in the development of prognostic and therapeutic options for MAFLD. Moreover, the extent to which metabolic pathways are altered due to ongoing hepatic steatosis, inflammation and fibrosis and subsequent liver damage remains unclear. To uncover potential MAFLD pathogenesis in humans, we employed an untargeted nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy- and high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS)-based multiplatform approach combined with a computational multiblock omics framework to characterize the plasma metabolomes and lipidomes of obese patients without (n = 19) or with liver biopsy confirmed MAFLD (n = 63). Metabolite features associated with MAFLD were identified using a metabolome-wide association study pipeline that tested for the relationships between feature responses and MAFLD. A metabolic pathway enrichment analysis revealed 16 pathways associated with MAFLD and highlighted pathway changes, including amino acid metabolism, bile acid metabolism, carnitine shuttle, fatty acid metabolism, glycerophospholipid metabolism, arachidonic acid metabolism and steroid metabolism. These results suggested that there were alterations in energy metabolism, specifically amino acid and lipid metabolism, and pointed to the pathways being implicated in alerted liver function, mitochondrial dysfunctions and immune system disorders, which have previously been linked to MAFLD in human and animal studies. Together, this study revealed specific metabolic alterations associated with MAFLD and supported the idea that MAFLD is fundamentally a metabolism-related disorder, thereby providing new perspectives for diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1081
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • NMR
  • lipidomics
  • mass spectrometry
  • metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease
  • metabolomics
  • multiblock analysis


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