Theranostics 2021; 11(2):754-767. doi:10.7150/thno.51154 This issue

Research Paper

Metabolomic profiling reveals amino acid and carnitine alterations as metabolic signatures in psoriasis

Chao Chen1,2,3,5*, Guixue Hou4*, Chunwei Zeng4*, Yan Ren4✉, Xiang Chen1,2,3,5✉, Cong Peng1,2,3,5✉

1. Department of Dermatology, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, China
2. Hunan Key Laboratory of Skin Cancer and Psoriasis, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, China
3. Hunan Engineering Research Center of Skin Health and Disease, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, 410008, China
4. BGI-Shenzhen, Shenzhen, Guangdong, 518083, China
5. National Clinical Research Center for Geriatric Disorders, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, 410008, China
*Contributed equally to this manuscript

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Citation:
Chen C, Hou G, Zeng C, Ren Y, Chen X, Peng C. Metabolomic profiling reveals amino acid and carnitine alterations as metabolic signatures in psoriasis. Theranostics 2021; 11(2):754-767. doi:10.7150/thno.51154. Available from https://www.thno.org/v11p0754.htm

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Abstract

Graphic abstract

High-throughput metabolite profiling provides the opportunity to reveal metabolic mechanisms and identify biomarkers. Psoriasis is an immune-mediated chronic inflammatory disease. However, the role of metabolism in psoriasis pathogenesis remains unclear.

Methods: Plasma samples of individuals (45 psoriasis and 45 sex‐, age-, and BMI-matched healthy controls) were collected. Non-targeted metabolomics and amino acid- or carnitine-targeted metabolomics were conducted, then, plasma samples of mice induced by imiquimod (IMQ) were subjected to the amino acid- and carnitine-targeted metabolomic profiling. Flow cytometry was used to study the effect of L-carnitine (LC(C0)) on IMQ-induced psoriatic inflammation.

Results: Through the non-targeted metabolomics approach, we detected significantly altered amino acids and carnitines in psoriasis patients. Amino acid-targeted metabolomic profiling identified 37 amino acids altered in psoriasis, of these 23 were markedly upregulated, including essential amino acids (EAAs), and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), whereas glutamine, cysteine, and asparagine were significantly down-regulated. Carnitine-targeted metabolomic profiling identified 40 significantly altered carnitines, 14 of which included palmitoylcarnitine (C16) and were markedly downregulated in psoriasis, whereas hexanoylcarnitine (C6) and 3-OH-octadecenoylcarnitine (C18:1-OH) were significantly upregulated. Interestingly, glutamine, asparagine, and C16 levels were negatively correlated with the PASI score. Moreover, a higher abundance of LC(C0) was associated with markedly reduced IMQ-induced epidermal thickening and infiltration of Th17 cells in skin lesions, indicating LC(C0) supplementation as a potential therapy for psoriasis treatment.

Conclusion: Our results suggested the metabolism of amino acids and carnitines are significantly altered in psoriasis, especially the metabolism of EAAs, BCAAs, and LC(C0), which may play key roles in the pathogenesis of psoriasis.

Keywords: psoriasis, metabolomics, amino acid, L-carnitine, Th17