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Serum Metabolomic and Lipidomic Profiling Reveals Novel Biomarkers of Efficacy for Benfotiamine in Alzheimer’s Disease

Journal Article
Ruchika Bhawal, Qin Fu, Elizabeth T. Anderson, Gary E. Gibson, and Sheng Zhang
Year Published: 
Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Dec 7;22(24):13188. doi: 10.3390/ijms222413188.
Full-Text on MDPI


Serum metabolomics and lipidomics are powerful approaches for discovering unique biomarkers in various diseases and associated therapeutics and for revealing metabolic mechanisms of both. Treatment with Benfotiamine (BFT), a thiamine prodrug, for one year produced encouraging results for patients with mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In this study, a parallel metabolomics and lipidomics approach was applied for the first exploratory investigation on the serum metabolome and lipidome of patients treated with BFT. A total of 315 unique metabolites and 417 lipids species were confidently identified and relatively quantified. Rigorous statistical analyses revealed significant differences between the placebo and BFT treatment groups in 25 metabolites, including thiamine, tyrosine, tryptophan, lysine, and 22 lipid species, mostly belonging to phosphatidylcholines. Additionally, 10 of 11 metabolites and 14 of 15 lipid species reported in previous literature to follow AD progression changed in the opposite direction to those reported to reflect AD progression. Enrichment and pathway analyses show that significantly altered metabolites by BFT are involved in glucose metabolism and biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids. Our study discovered that multiple novel biomarkers and multiple mechanisms that may underlie the benefit of BFT are potential therapeutic targets in AD and should be validated in studies with larger sample sizes.


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