Systemic and characteristic metabolites in the serum of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats at different stages as revealed by a 1H-NMR based metabonomic approach
Diabetes mellitus is a typical heterogeneous metabolic disorder characterized by abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. Investigating the changes in metabolic pathways during the evolution of diabetes mellitus may contribute to the understanding of its metabolic features and pathogenesis. In this study, serum samples were collected from diabetic rats and age-matched controls at different time points: 1 and 9 weeks after streptozotocin (STZ) treatment. 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR)-based metabonomics with quantitative analysis was performed to study the metabolic changes. The serum samples were also subjected to clinical chemistry analysis to verify the metabolic changes observed by metabonomics. Partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) demonstrated that the levels of serum metabolites in diabetic rats are different from those in control rats. These findings indicate that the metabolic characteristics of the two groups are markedly different at 1 and 9 weeks. Quantitative analysis showed that the levels of some metabolites, such as pyruvate, lactate, citrate, acetone, acetoacetate, acetate, glycerol, and valine, varied in a time-dependent manner in diabetic rats. These results suggest that serum metabolites related to glycolysis, the tricarboxylic acid cycle, gluconeogenesis, fatty acid β-oxidation, branched-chain amino acid metabolism, and the tyrosine metabolic pathways are involved in the evolution of diabetes. The metabolic changes represent potential features and promote a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in the development of diabetes mellitus. This work further suggests that 1H NMR metabonomics is a valuable approach for providing novel insights into the pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus and its complications.