Urine metabolomics combined with the personalized diagnosis guided by Chinese medicine reveals subtypes of pre-diabetes
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes continuously increases globally. A personalized strategy applied in the pre-diabetic stage is vital for diabetic prevention and management. The personalized diagnosis of Chinese Medicine (CM) may help to stratify the diabetics. Metabolomics is regarded as a potential platform to provide biomarkers for disease-subtypes. We designed an explorative study of 50 pre-diabetic males, combining GC-MS urine metabolomics with CM diagnosis in order to identify diagnostic biomarkers for pre-diabetic subtypes. Three CM physicians reached 85% diagnosis consistency resulting in the classification of 3 pre-diabetic groups. The urine metabolic patterns of groups 1 ‘Qi-Yin deficiency’ and 2 ‘Qi-Yin deficiency with dampness’ (subtype A) and group 3 ‘Qi-Yin deficiency with stagnation’ (subtype B) were clearly discriminated. The majority of metabolites (51%), mainly sugars and amino acids, showed higher urine levels in subtype B compared with subtype A. This indicated more disturbances of carbohydrate metabolism and renal function in subtype B compared with subtype A. No differences were found for hematological and biochemical parameters except for levels of glucose and γ-glutamyltransferase that were significantly higher in subtype B compared with subtype A. This study proved that combining metabolomics with CM diagnosis can reveal metabolic signatures for pre-diabetic subtypes. The identified urinary metabolites may be of special clinical relevance for non-invasive screening for subtypes of pre-diabetes, which could lead to an improvement in personalized interventions for diabetics.