UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Metabolites Associated with Vigor to Frailty Among Community-Dwelling Older Black Men Marron, Megan M.; Harris, Tamara B.; Boudreau, Robert M.; Clish, Clary B.; Moore, Steven C.; Murphy, Rachel Anne; Murthy, Venkatesh L.; Sanders, Jason L.; Shah, Ravi V.; Tseng, George C.; et al.


Black versus white older Americans are more likely to experience frailty, a condition associated with adverse health outcomes. To reduce racial disparities in health, a complete understanding of the pathophysiology of frailty is needed. Metabolomics may further our understanding by characterizing differences in the body during a vigorous versus frail state. We sought to identify metabolites and biological pathways associated with vigor to frailty among 287 black men ages 70–81 from the Health, Aging, and Body Composition study. Using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, 350 metabolites were measured in overnight-fasting plasma. The Scale of Aging Vigor in Epidemiology (SAVE) measured vigor to frailty based on weight change, strength, energy, gait speed, and physical activity. Thirty-seven metabolites correlated with SAVE scores (p < 0.05), while adjusting for age and site. Fourteen metabolites remained significant after multiple comparisons adjustment (false discovery rate < 0.30). Lower values of tryptophan, methionine, tyrosine, asparagine, C14:0 sphingomyelin, and 1-methylnicotinamide, and higher values of glucoronate, N-carbamoyl-beta-alanine, isocitrate, creatinine, C4-OH carnitine, cystathionine, hydroxyphenylacetate, and putrescine were associated with frailer SAVE scores. Pathway analyses identified nitrogen metabolism, aminoacyl-tRNA biosynthesis, and the citric acid cycle. Future studies need to confirm these SAVE-associated metabolites and pathways that may indicate novel mechanisms involved in the frailty syndrome.

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