Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

A metabolomic analytical approach permits identification of urinary biomarkers for Plasmodium falciparum infection: a case–control study

Abdelrazig, Salah M.A.; Ortori, Catharine A.; Davey, Gail; Deressa, Wakgari; Mulleta, Dhaba; Barrett, David A.; Amberbir, Alemayehu; Fogarty, Andrew W.

A metabolomic analytical approach permits identification of urinary biomarkers for Plasmodium falciparum infection: a case–control study Thumbnail


Salah M.A. Abdelrazig

Catharine A. Ortori

Gail Davey

Wakgari Deressa

Dhaba Mulleta

David A. Barrett

Alemayehu Amberbir

Clinical Associate Professor & Reader in Clinical Epidemiology


BACKGROUND: Currently available diagnostic techniques of Plasmodium falciparum infection are not optimal for non-invasive, population-based screening for malaria. It was hypothesized that a mass spectrometry-based metabolomics approach could identify urinary biomarkers of falciparum malaria.

METHODS: The study used a case-control design, with cases consisting of 21 adults in central Ethiopia with a diagnosis of P. falciparum infection confirmed with microscopy, and 25 controls of adults with negative blood smears for malaria matched on age and sex. Urinary samples were collected from these individuals during presentation at the clinic, and a second sample was collected from both cases and controls 4 weeks later, after the cases had received anti-malarial medication. The urine samples were screened for small molecule urinary biomarkers, using mass spectrometry-based metabolomics analyses followed by multivariate analysis using principal component analysis and orthogonal partial least square-discriminant analysis. The chemical identity of statistically significant malaria biomarkers was confirmed using tandem mass spectrometry.

RESULTS: The urinary metabolic profiles of cases with P. falciparum infection were distinct from healthy controls. After treatment with anti-malarial medication, the metabolomic profile of cases resembled that of healthy controls. Significantly altered levels of 29 urinary metabolites were found. Elevated levels of urinary pipecolic acid, taurine, N-acetylspermidine, N-acetylputrescine and 1,3-diacetylpropane were identified as potential biomarkers of falciparum malaria.

CONCLUSION: The urinary biomarkers of malaria identified have potential for the development of non-invasive and rapid diagnostic test of P. falciparum infection.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 25, 2017
Publication Date May 30, 2017
Deposit Date Jun 7, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jun 7, 2017
Journal Malaria Journal
Electronic ISSN 1475-2875
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Article Number 229
Keywords Malaria, Urine, Falciparum, Biomarker, Metabolomics
Public URL
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations