Non-targeted metabolite profiling reveals changes in oxidative stress, tryptophan and lipid metabolisms in fearful dogs
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CitationPuurunen Jenni. Tiira Katriina. Lehtonen Marko. Hanhineva Kati. Lohi Hannes. (2016). Non-targeted metabolite profiling reveals changes in oxidative stress, tryptophan and lipid metabolisms in fearful dogs. BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN FUNCTIONS, 12, 7. 10.1186/s12993-016-0091-2.
Anxieties, such as shyness, noise phobia and separation anxiety, are common but poorly understood behavioural problems in domestic dogs, Canis familiaris. Although studies have demonstrated genetic and environmental contributions to anxiety pathogenesis, better understanding of the molecular underpinnings is needed to improve diagnostics, management and treatment plans. As a part of our ongoing canine anxiety genetics efforts, this study aimed to pilot a metabolomics approach in fearful and non-fearful dogs to identify candidate biomarkers for more objective phenotyping purposes and to refer to potential underlying biological problem.
We collected whole blood samples from 10 fearful and 10 non-fearful Great Danes and performed a liquid chromatography combined with mass spectrometry (LC–MS)-based non-targeted metabolite profiling.
Non-targeted metabolomics analysis detected six 932 metabolite entities in four analytical modes [RP and HILIC; ESI(−) and ESI(+)], of which 239 differed statistically between the test groups. We identified changes in 13 metabolites (fold change ranging from 1.28 to 2.85) between fearful and non-fearful dogs, including hypoxanthine, indoxylsulfate and several phospholipids. These molecules are involved in oxidative stress, tryptophan and lipid metabolisms.
We identified significant alterations in the metabolism of fearful dogs, and some of these changes appear relevant to anxiety also in other species. This pilot study demonstrates the feasibility of the non-targeted metabolomics and warrants a larger replication study to confirm the role of the identified biomarkers and pathways in canine anxiety.