Publications by authors named "Shawn Ritchie"

17 Publications

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Oral administration of a synthetic vinyl-ether plasmalogen normalizes open field activity in a mouse model of rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata.

Dis Model Mech 2020 01 24;13(1). Epub 2020 Jan 24.

Department of Human Genetics and Pediatrics, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center and McGill University, Montreal, QC H4A3J1, Canada

Rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata (RCDP) is a rare genetic disorder caused by mutations in peroxisomal genes essential for plasmalogen biosynthesis. Plasmalogens are a class of membrane glycerophospholipids containing a vinyl-ether-linked fatty alcohol at the sn-1 position that affect functions including vesicular transport, membrane protein function and free radical scavenging. A logical rationale for the treatment of RCDP is therefore the therapeutic augmentation of plasmalogens. The objective of this work was to provide a preliminary characterization of a novel vinyl-ether synthetic plasmalogen, PPI-1040, in support of its potential utility as an oral therapeutic option for RCDP. First, wild-type mice were treated with C-labeled PPI-1040, which showed that the sn-1 vinyl-ether and the sn-3 phosphoethanolamine groups remained intact during digestion and absorption. Next, a 4-week treatment of adult plasmalogen-deficient mice with PPI-1040 showed normalization of plasmalogen levels in plasma, and variable increases in plasmalogen levels in erythrocytes and peripheral tissues (liver, small intestine, skeletal muscle and heart). Augmentation was not observed in brain, lung and kidney. Functionally, PPI-1040 treatment normalized the hyperactive behavior observed in the mice as determined by open field test, with a significant inverse correlation between activity and plasma plasmalogen levels. Parallel treatment with an equal amount of ether plasmalogen precursor, PPI-1011, did not effectively augment plasmalogen levels or reduce hyperactivity. Our findings show, for the first time, that a synthetic vinyl-ether plasmalogen is orally bioavailable and can improve plasmalogen levels in an RCDP mouse model. Further exploration of its clinical utility is warranted.This article has an associated First Person interview with the joint first authors of the paper.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/dmm.042499DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6994958PMC
January 2020

Neuroprotection and immunomodulation in the gut of parkinsonian mice with a plasmalogen precursor.

Brain Res 2019 12 13;1725:146460. Epub 2019 Sep 13.

Centre de Recherche du CHU de Québec, Axe Neurosciences, 2705, Boulevard Laurier, Québec (Québec), G1V 4G2, Canada; Faculté de Pharmacie, Pavillon Ferdinand-Vandry, 1050, avenue de la Médecine, Université Laval, Québec (Québec), G1V 0A6, Canada. Electronic address:

Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease worldwide. It is typically associated with motor symptoms originating from the degeneration of nigrostriatal dopamine (DA) neurons. Early stages of PD have been associated with an alteration in DA production in intestinal DAergic neurons along with inflammation. Interestingly, decreased serum concentrations of ethanolamine plasmalogens (PlsEtn) have been reported in PD patients. Ethanolamine plasmalogens play a role in vesicular fusion and release during neurotransmission, and store neuroprotective polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and are strong anti-oxidants, highlighting areas of potential therapeutic interest. Docosahexaenoic acid is known to play important roles in both the central nervous and peripheral systems, in addition to acting as a precursor of several molecules that regulate the resolution of inflammation. The present study investigated the neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties of the DHA-containing PlsEtn precursor, PPI-1011, in the intestine of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-treated mice. Treatment with PPI-1011 prevented the MPTP-induced decrease in PlsEtn levels. In addition it prevented the loss of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) expression and reduced the infiltration of macrophages in the myenteric plexus of MPTP-treated mice. The protective effects of PPI-1011 were observed regardless of whether it was administered pre- or post- MPTP treatment. These results suggest that PPI-1011 has neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties in the gut and indicate its potential utility as a treatment for both early and more advanced stages of PD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2019.146460DOI Listing
December 2019

Plasmalogen precursor mitigates striatal dopamine loss in MPTP mice.

Brain Res 2017 Nov 19;1674:70-76. Epub 2017 Aug 19.

Neuroscience Research Unit, Centre de Recherche du CHU de Québec, CHUL, 2705 Laurier Boulevard, Quebec City, Qc G1V 4G2, Canada; Faculty of Pharmacy, Laval University, 1050, Avenue de la Médecine, Quebec City, Qc G1V 0A6, Canada. Electronic address:

Ethanolamine plasmalogens (PlsEtn) are a class of glycerophospholipids characterized by a vinyl-ether bond at the sn-1 position that play an important role in the structure and function of membranes. Previous reports have suggested a link between reduced blood and brain PlsEtn levels and Parkinson's disease (PD). We recently reported that the DHA containing plasmalogen precursor PPI-1011 protected striatal dopamine (DA) against MPTP toxicity in mice. In this paper, we further investigate the specificity requirements of the lipid side chains by testing the oleic acid-containing plasmalogen precursor PPI-1025. Male mice were treated for 10days with daily oral administration of PPI-1025 (10, 50 or 200mg/kg). On day 5 mice received MPTP and were sacrificed on Day 11. Treatment with PPI-1025 prevented MPTP-induced decrease of DA and serotonin, as well as their metabolites. In addition, PPI-1025 treatment prevented the MPTP-induced decrease of the striatal dopamine transporter (DAT) and vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) specific binding. Significant positive correlations were measured between striatal DA concentrations and DAT or VMAT2 specific binding, as well as with serum plasmalogen concentrations. The neuroprotective effect of PPI-1025 displayed a bell-curve dose-dependency losing effect at the highest dose tested. The similar protective response of oleic and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-containing plasmalogen precursors suggests that the neuroprotection observed is not only due to DHA but to the oleic substituent and the plasmalogen backbone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2017.08.020DOI Listing
November 2017

Serum Metabolite Profiling for the Detection of Pancreatic Cancer: Results of a Large Independent Validation Study.

Pancreas 2016 11;45(10):1418-1423

From the *Department of Surgery, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Suita City; †Department of Surgery, Osaka Medical Center for Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases, Osaka City, Osaka, Japan; and ‡Phenomenome Discoveries, Inc, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Objectives: To improve the detection of pancreatic cancer (PC), a robust diagnostic biomarker is essential. We have previously discovered 4 serum metabolites (PC-594, lysophosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylcholine, and sphingomyelin) in distinguishing patients with PC from healthy controls. Here, we report the results of our validation phase by using larger numbers of independent and blinded samples.

Methods: We collected 3 mL of serum from 116 patients with PC and 138 healthy controls. Samples were blinded and expression of the 4 candidate metabolites in each sample was determined by triple quadrupole tandem mass spectrometry. We then used cutoffs established in the discovery phase to predict the disease state of each of the validation samples.

Results: All 4 metabolites showed significantly lower expression in patients with PC compared with healthy controls. PC-594 showed 73.3% sensitivity and 92.0% specificity, whereas the other 3 metabolites showed 58.6% and 92.0%, 76.7% and 69.6%, and 58.6% and 81.9% sensitivity and specificity, respectively. Area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for PC-594 alone was 0.92, whereas a combination method using all 4 metabolites showed 86.2% sensitivity and 84.8% specificity.

Conclusions: Our validation results confirmed that a reduction in PC-594, along with 3 other serum-based choline metabolites, is highly associated with PC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MPA.0000000000000680DOI Listing
November 2016

Improved specificity of serum phosphatidylcholine detection based on side-chain losses during negative electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry.

Anal Bioanal Chem 2016 Nov 25;408(27):7811-7823. Epub 2016 Aug 25.

Phenomenome Discoveries Inc., 204-407 Downey Road, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7N 4L8, Canada.

Many current tandem mass spectrometry (MS) methods for measuring phosphatidylcholines (PtdChos) rely only on precursor ion scanning of the common 184 m/z phosphocholine fragment with positive electrospray ionization (+ESI), and thus measure pools of PtdChos rather than specific isoforms. In this paper, we developed and compared an isotope dilution, tandem MS method capable of quantifying PtdChos based on specific fatty acid side-chains to the traditional 184 m/z method. The method is based on the detection of PtdCho ammonium formate (AmF) adduct as parent ions and fatty acid fragment daughter ions under negative electrospray ionization (-ESI). Accuracy, imprecision, and recovery were below 15 %, with acceptable linearity (R  > 0.99) up to 5 μg/mL. We used the method to analyze the distributions of PtdChos with common side-chain combinations among 60 subjects and showed that it was possible for two individuals to have the same PtdCho pool concentration based on detection of the 184 m/z fragment, but up to a fourfold difference in the levels of specific isoforms comprising the pool based on our method. We then compared the results of both methods across 572 patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), Alzheimer's disease (AD), or no impairment (NI), which showed that statistically significant associations between specific PtdCho isoforms and AD were masked with the 184 m/z method. Our findings demonstrate the importance of isoform specificity for quantifying PtdChos, and suggest caution when interpreting analytical data based on pools of biomarkers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00216-016-9884-2DOI Listing
November 2016

Pancreatic cancer serum biomarker PC-594: Diagnostic performance and comparison to CA19-9.

World J Gastroenterol 2015 Jun;21(21):6604-12

Shawn A Ritchie, Bassirou Chitou, Dushmanthi Jayasinghe, Department of Biomarker Discovery and Validation, Phenomenome Discoveries, Saskatoon, SK S7N 4L8, Canada.

Aim: To investigate serum PC-594 fatty acid levels as a potential biomarker in North American pancreatic cancer (PaC) patients, and to compare its performance to CA19-9.

Methods: Using tandem mass spectrometry, we evaluated serum PC-594 levels from 84 North American patients with confirmed PaC and 99 cancer-free control subjects. We determined CA19-9 levels by ELISA. Significance between PaC patients and controls, and association with clinical variables was determined by analysis of variance and t-tests. Diagnostic performance was evaluated by receiver-operator characteristic (ROC) curve analysis, and PC-594 correlation with age and CA19-9 determined by regression analysis.

Results: Mean PC-594 levels were 3.7 times lower in PaC patients compared to controls (P < 0.0001). The mean level in PaC patient serum was 0.76 ± 0.07 μmol/L, and the mean level in control subjects was 2.79 ± 0.15 μmol/L. There was no correlation between PC-594 and age, disease stage or gender (P > 0.05). Using 1.25 μmol/L as a PC-594 threshold produced a relative risk (RR) of 9.4 (P < 0.0001, 95%CI: 5.0-17.7). The area under the receiver-operator characteristic curve (ROC-AUC) was 0.93 (95%CI: 0.91-0.95) for PC-594 and 0.85 (95%CI: 0.82-0.88) for CA19-9. Sensitivity at 90% specificity was 87% for PC-594 and 71% for CA19-9. Six PaC patients with CA19-9 above 35 U/mL showed normal PC-594 levels, while 24 PaC patients with normal CA19-9 showed low PC-594 levels. Eighty-five of the 99 control subjects (86%) showed normal levels of both markers.

Conclusion: PC-594 biomarker levels are significantly reduced in North American PaC patients, and showed superior diagnostic performance compared to CA19-9.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v21.i21.6604DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4458770PMC
June 2015

Metabolic system alterations in pancreatic cancer patient serum: potential for early detection.

BMC Cancer 2013 Sep 12;13:416. Epub 2013 Sep 12.

Phenomenome Discoveries, Inc,, Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

Background: The prognosis of pancreatic cancer (PC) is one of the poorest among all cancers, due largely to the lack of methods for screening and early detection. New biomarkers for identifying high-risk or early-stage subjects could significantly impact PC mortality. The goal of this study was to find metabolic biomarkers associated with PC by using a comprehensive metabolomics technology to compare serum profiles of PC patients to healthy control subjects.

Methods: A non-targeted metabolomics approach based on high-resolution, flow-injection Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FI-FTICR-MS) was used to generate comprehensive metabolomic profiles containing 2478 accurate mass measurements from the serum of Japanese PC patients (n=40) and disease-free subjects (n=50). Targeted flow-injection tandem mass spectrometry (FI-MS/MS) assays for specific metabolic systems were developed and used to validate the FI-FTICR-MS results. A FI-MS/MS assay for the most discriminating metabolite discovered by FI-FTICR-MS (PC-594) was further validated in two USA Caucasian populations; one comprised 14 PCs, six intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMN) and 40 controls, and a second comprised 1000 reference subjects aged 30 to 80, which was used to create a distribution of PC-594 levels among the general population.

Results: FI-FTICR-MS metabolomic analysis showed significant reductions in the serum levels of metabolites belonging to five systems in PC patients compared to controls (all p<0.000025). The metabolic systems included 36-carbon ultra long-chain fatty acids, multiple choline-related systems including phosphatidylcholines, lysophosphatidylcholines and sphingomyelins, as well as vinyl ether-containing plasmalogen ethanolamines. ROC-AUCs based on FI-MS/MS of selected markers from each system ranged between 0.93 ±0.03 and 0.97 ±0.02. No significant correlations between any of the systems and disease-stage, gender, or treatment were observed. Biomarker PC-594 (an ultra long-chain fatty acid), was further validated using an independently-collected US Caucasian population (blinded analysis, n=60, p=9.9E-14, AUC=0.97 ±0.02). PC-594 levels across 1000 reference subjects showed an inverse correlation with age, resulting in a drop in the AUC from 0.99 ±0.01 to 0.90 ±0.02 for subjects aged 30 to 80, respectively. A PC-594 test positivity rate of 5.0% in low-risk reference subjects resulted in a PC sensitivity of 87% and a significant improvement in net clinical benefit based on decision curve analysis.

Conclusions: The serum metabolome of PC patients is significantly altered. The utility of serum metabolite biomarkers, particularly PC-594, for identifying subjects with elevated risk of PC should be further investigated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2407-13-416DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3847543PMC
September 2013

Low-serum GTA-446 anti-inflammatory fatty acid levels as a new risk factor for colon cancer.

Int J Cancer 2013 Jan 26;132(2):355-62. Epub 2012 Jun 26.

Phenomenome Discoveries, Inc, Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

Gastrointestinal tract acid-446 (GTA-446) is a long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid present in the serum. A reduction of GTA-446 levels in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients has been reported previously. Our study compared GTA-446 levels in subjects diagnosed with CRC at the time of colonoscopy to the general population. Serum samples and pathology data were collected from 4,923 representative subjects undergoing colonoscopy and from 964 subjects from the general population. Serum GTA-446 levels were determined using a triple-quadrupole tandem mass spectrometry method. A low-serum GTA-446 level was based on the bottom tenth percentile of subjects with low risk based on age (40-49 years old) in the general population. Eighty-six percent of newly diagnosed CRC subjects (87% for stages 0-II and 85% for stages III-IV) showed low-serum GTA-446 levels. A significant increase in the CRC incidence rate with age was observed in subjects with low GTA-446 levels (p = 0.019), but not in subjects with normal levels (p = 0.86). The relative risk of CRC given a low GTA-446 level was the highest for subjects under age 50 (10.1, 95% confidence interval [C.I.] = 6.4-16.4 in the reference population, and 7.7, 95% C.I. = 4.4-14.1 in the colonoscopy population, both p < 0.0001), and declined with age thereafter. The CRC incidence rate in subjects undergoing colonoscopy with low GTA-446 levels was over six times higher than for subjects with normal GTA-446 levels and twice that of subjects with gastrointestinal symptoms. The results show that a low-serum GTA-446 level is a significant risk factor for CRC, and a sensitive predictor of early-stage disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.27673DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3675640PMC
January 2013

Human serum-derived hydroxy long-chain fatty acids exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative activity.

J Exp Clin Cancer Res 2011 May 17;30:59. Epub 2011 May 17.

Phenomenome Discoveries, Inc, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Background: Circulating levels of novel long-chain hydroxy fatty acids (called GTAs) were recently discovered in the serum of healthy subjects which were shown to be reduced in subjects with colorectal cancer (CRC), independent of tumor burden or disease stage. The levels of GTAs were subsequently observed to exhibit an inverse association with age in the general population. The current work investigates the biological activity of these fatty acids by evaluating the effects of enriched human serum extracts on cell growth and inflammation.

Methods: GTAs were extracted from commercially available bulk human serum and then chromatographically separated into enriched (GTA-positive) and depleted (GTA-negative) fractions. SW620, MCF7 and LPS stimulated RAW264.7 cells were treated with various concentrations of the GTA-positive and GTA-negative extracts, and the effects on cell growth and inflammation determined.

Results: Enriched fractions resulted in poly-ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) cleavage, suppression of NFκB, induction of IκBα, and reduction in NOS2 mRNA transcript levels. In RAW264.7 mouse macrophage cells, incubation with enriched fractions prior to treatment with LPS blocked the induction of several pro-inflammatory markers including nitric oxide, TNFα, IL-1β, NOS2 and COX2.

Conclusions: Our results show that human serum extracts enriched with endogenous long-chain hydroxy fatty acids possess anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative activity. These findings support a hypothesis that the reduction of these metabolites with age may result in a compromised ability to defend against uncontrolled cell growth and inflammation, and could therefore represent a significant risk for the development of CRC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1756-9966-30-59DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3108922PMC
May 2011

Reduction of novel circulating long-chain fatty acids in colorectal cancer patients is independent of tumor burden and correlates with age.

BMC Gastroenterol 2010 Nov 29;10:140. Epub 2010 Nov 29.

Phenomenome Discoveries Inc, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Background: Serum levels of novel hydroxy polyunsaturated ultra long-chain fatty acids (hPULCFAs) have been previously shown to be reduced in pre-treatment CRC patients compared to disease-free subjects, independent of disease stage. However, whether reduced levels of hPULCFAs result from the presence of cancer is currently unknown, as is the distribution of hPULCFAs in the general population. The following studies were carried out to assess whether conventional therapy would result in restoration of systemic hPULCFAs in CRC patients, and to investigate the relationship between hPULCFA levels and age.

Methods: Tandem mass spectrometry was used to determine serum levels of the 28 carbon-containing hPULCFA C28H46O4 (CRC-446) in the following cohorts: two independent Japanese CRC populations following surgical tumor removal (n = 86), a North American Caucasian CRC cohort (n = 150) following post-surgery combination chemo/radiation therapy, 990 randomly selected anonymized serum samples from subjects ranging between 11 and 99 years of age, as well as longitudinally collected serum samples from healthy normals (n = 8, up to 90 weeks) and stage IV CRC subjects on combination therapy (n = 12, up to 63 weeks).

Results: Serum CRC-446 levels in CRC subjects were significantly lower than controls (mean of 0.297 ± 0.07 ug/ml in controls versus 0.092 ± 0.03 in CRCs, p < 0.001), and were unaffected by surgical tumor removal or by chemo/radiation treatment (p > 0.05 between pre vs post surgery). CRC-446 levels showed a strong inverse association with age (p < E-11) across the randomly-selected cohort of 990 subjects, with no correlation observed in the CRC-positive subjects. Longitudinal intra-subject results, however, showed relatively stable CRC-446 levels over the short term of up to 90 weeks in both disease-free subjects and late-stage CRC patients.

Conclusions: Our findings show that CRC-446 levels are not affected by conventional CRC treatment and inversely correlate with age, which suggest that reduced serum CRC-446 levels likely exist prior to the development of CRC. Extrapolation of the results to a simple screening scenario showed that, compared to fecal blood testing, pre-colonoscopy screening using serum CRC-446 levels would require 80% fewer colonoscopies, would identify risk in subjects under the age of 50, and would result in increased numbers of early cases detected. The precise role these serum metabolites play in the aetiology of cancer development remains to be determined.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-230X-10-140DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3009636PMC
November 2010

Membrane plasmalogen composition and cellular cholesterol regulation: a structure activity study.

Lipids Health Dis 2010 Jun 14;9:62. Epub 2010 Jun 14.

Phenomenome Discoveries Inc, and Phreedom Pharma, 204-407 Downey Road, Saskatoon, SK S7N 4L8, Canada.

Background: Disrupted cholesterol regulation leading to increased circulating and membrane cholesterol levels is implicated in many age-related chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), Alzheimer's disease (AD), and cancer. In vitro and ex vivo cellular plasmalogen deficiency models have been shown to exhibit impaired intra- and extra-cellular processing of cholesterol. Furthermore, depleted brain plasmalogens have been implicated in AD and serum plasmalogen deficiencies have been linked to AD, CVD, and cancer.

Results: Using plasmalogen deficient (NRel-4) and plasmalogen sufficient (HEK293) cells we investigated the effect of species-dependent plasmalogen restoration/augmentation on membrane cholesterol processing. The results of these studies indicate that the esterification of cholesterol is dependent upon the amount of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)-containing ethanolamine plasmalogen (PlsEtn) present in the membrane. We further elucidate that the concentration-dependent increase in esterified cholesterol observed with PUFA-PlsEtn was due to a concentration-dependent increase in sterol-O-acyltransferase-1 (SOAT1) levels, an observation not reproduced by 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibition.

Conclusion: The present study describes a novel mechanism of cholesterol regulation that is consistent with clinical and epidemiological studies of cholesterol, aging and disease. Specifically, the present study describes how selective membrane PUFA-PlsEtn enhancement can be achieved using 1-alkyl-2-PUFA glycerols and through this action reduce levels of total and free cholesterol in cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1476-511X-9-62DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2902472PMC
June 2010

Reduced levels of hydroxylated, polyunsaturated ultra long-chain fatty acids in the serum of colorectal cancer patients: implications for early screening and detection.

BMC Med 2010 Feb 15;8:13. Epub 2010 Feb 15.

Phenomenome Discoveries Inc, Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

Background: There are currently no accurate serum markers for detecting early risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). We therefore developed a non-targeted metabolomics technology to analyse the serum of pre-treatment CRC patients in order to discover putative metabolic markers associated with CRC. Using tandem-mass spectrometry (MS/MS) high throughput MS technology we evaluated the utility of selected markers and this technology for discriminating between CRC and healthy subjects.

Methods: Biomarker discovery was performed using Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FTICR-MS). Comprehensive metabolic profiles of CRC patients and controls from three independent populations from different continents (USA and Japan; total n = 222) were obtained and the best inter-study biomarkers determined. The structural characterization of these and related markers was performed using liquid chromatography (LC) MS/MS and nuclear magnetic resonance technologies. Clinical utility evaluations were performed using a targeted high-throughput triple-quadrupole multiple reaction monitoring (TQ-MRM) method for three biomarkers in two further independent populations from the USA and Japan (total n = 220).

Results: Comprehensive metabolomic analyses revealed significantly reduced levels of 28-36 carbon-containing hydroxylated polyunsaturated ultra long-chain fatty-acids in all three independent cohorts of CRC patient samples relative to controls. Structure elucidation studies on the C28 molecules revealed two families harbouring specifically two or three hydroxyl substitutions and varying degrees of unsaturation. The TQ-MRM method successfully validated the FTICR-MS results in two further independent studies. In total, biomarkers in five independent populations across two continental regions were evaluated (three populations by FTICR-MS and two by TQ-MRM). The resultant receiver-operator characteristic curve AUCs ranged from 0.85 to 0.98 (average = 0.91 +/- 0.04).

Conclusions: A novel comprehensive metabolomics technology was used to identify a systemic metabolic dysregulation comprising previously unknown hydroxylated polyunsaturated ultra-long chain fatty acid metabolites in CRC patients. These metabolites are easily measurable in serum and a decrease in their concentration appears to be highly sensitive and specific for the presence of CRC, regardless of ethnic or geographic background. The measurement of these metabolites may represent an additional tool for the early detection and screening of CRC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1741-7015-8-13DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2833138PMC
February 2010

Circulating plasmalogen levels and Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive scores in Alzheimer patients.

J Psychiatry Neurosci 2010 Jan;35(1):59-62

Phreedom Pharma, Saskatoon, Sask., Canada.

Background: Plasmalogens, which are key structural phospholipids in brain membranes, are decreased in the brain and serum of patients with Alzheimer disease (AD). We performed this pilot study to evaluate the relation between the levels of circulating plasmalogens and Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive (ADAS-Cog) scores in patients with AD.

Methods: We evaluated participants' ADAS-Cog scores and serum plasmalogen levels. For the 40 included AD patients with an ADAS-Cog score between 20 and 46, were tested their ADAS-Cog score 1 year later. The levels of docosahexaenoic acid plasmalogen were measured by use of liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.

Results: We found that the ADAS-Cog score increased significantly in AD patients with circulating plasmalogen levels that were 75%).

Limitations: This was a pilot study with 40 patients, and the results require validation in a larger population.

Conclusion: Our study demonstrates that decreased levels of plasmalogen precursors in the central nervous system correlate with functional decline (as measured by ADAS-Cog scores) in AD patients. The use of both ADAS-Cog and serum plasmalogen data may be a more accurate way of predicting cognitive decline in AD patients, and may be used to decrease the risk of including patients with no cognitive decline in the placebo arm of a drug trial.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2799506PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1503/jpn.090059DOI Listing
January 2010

Novel plasma phospholipid biomarkers of autism: mitochondrial dysfunction as a putative causative mechanism.

Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2009 Oct 15;81(4):253-64. Epub 2009 Jul 15.

Phenomenome Discoveries Inc., 204-407 Downey Road, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7N 4L8.

Autism is a neurological disorder that manifests as noticeable behavioral and developmental abnormalities predominantly in males between the ages of 2 and 10. Although the genetics, biochemistry and neuropathology of this disease have been extensively studied, underlying causal factors to this disease have remained elusive. Using a longitudinal trial design in which three plasma samples were collected from 15 autistic and 12 non-autistic age-matched controls over the course of 1 year, universal and unambiguous alterations in lipid metabolism were observed. Biomarkers of fatty acid elongation and desaturation (poly-unsaturated long chain fatty acids (PUFA) and/or saturated very long chain fatty acids (VLCFA)-containing ethanolamine phospholipids) were statistically elevated in all autistic subjects. In all 8 of the affected/non-affected sibling pairs, the affected sibling had higher levels of these biomarkers than the unaffected sibling. Exposure of neurons, astrocytes and hepatocytes in vitro to elevated extracellular glutamate levels resulted in lipid biomarker changes indistinguishable from those observed in autistic subjects. Glutamate stress also resulted in in vitro decreased levels of reduced glutathione (GSH), methionine and cysteine, in a similar way to the decreases we observed in autism plasma. Impaired mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation, elevated plasma VLCFAs, and glutamate toxicity as putative causal factors in the biochemistry, neuropathology, and gender bias in autism are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.plefa.2009.06.003DOI Listing
October 2009

Requirement of N-myristoyltransferase 1 in the development of monocytic lineage.

J Immunol 2008 Jan;180(2):1019-28

Department of Pathology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Canada.

N-myristoyltransferase (NMT) exists in two isoforms, NMT1 and NMT2, that catalyze myristoylation of various proteins crucial in signal transduction, cellular transformation, and oncogenesis. We have recently demonstrated that NMT1 is essential for the early development of mouse embryo. In this report, we have demonstrated that an invariant consequence of NMT1 knock out is defective myelopoesis. Suppressed macrophage colony forming units were observed in M-CSF-stimulated bone marrow cells from heterozygous (+/-) Nmt1-deficient mice. Homozygous (-/-) Nmt1-deficient mouse embryonic stem cells resulted in drastic reduction of macrophages when stimulated to differentiate by M-CSF. Furthermore, to understand the requirement of NMT1 in the monocytic differentiation we investigated the role of NMT, pp60c-Src (NMT substrate) and heat shock cognate protein 70 (inhibitor of NMT), during PMA-induced differentiation of U937 cells. Src kinase activity and protein expression increased during the differentiation process along with regulation of NMT activity by hsc70. NMT1 knock down in PMA treated U937 cells showed defective monocytic differentiation. We report in this study novel observation that regulated total NMT activity and NMT1 is essential for proper monocytic differentiation of the mouse bone marrow cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.180.2.1019DOI Listing
January 2008

prediction of metabolic networks using Fourier transform mass spectrometry data.

Metabolomics 2006 25;2(3):155-164. Epub 2006 Jul 25.

Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8QQ UK.

Fourier transform mass spectrometry has recently been introduced into the field of metabolomics as a technique that enables the mass separation of complex mixtures at very high resolution and with ultra high mass accuracy. Here we show that this enhanced mass accuracy can be exploited to predict large metabolic networks , based only on the observed metabolites without recourse to predictions based on the literature. The resulting networks are highly information-rich and clearly non-random. They can be used to infer the chemical identity of metabolites and to obtain a global picture of the structure of cellular metabolic networks. This represents the first reconstruction of metabolic networks based on unbiased metabolomic data and offers a breakthrough in the systems-wide analysis of cellular metabolism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11306-006-0029-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3906711PMC
July 2006

Identification of the SRC pyrimidine-binding protein (SPy) as hnRNP K: implications in the regulation of SRC1A transcription.

Nucleic Acids Res 2003 Mar;31(5):1502-13

Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 5E5, Canada.

The human SRC gene encodes pp60(c-src), a non-receptor tyrosine kinase involved in numerous signaling pathways. Activation or overexpression of c-Src has also been linked to a number of important human cancers. Transcription of the SRC gene is complex and regulated by two closely linked but highly dissimilar promoters, each associated with its own distinct non-coding exon. In many tissues SRC expression is regulated by the housekeeping-like SRC1A promoter. In addition to other regulatory elements, three substantial polypurine:polypyrimidine (TC) tracts within this promoter are required for full transcriptional activity. Previously, we described an unusual factor called SRC pyrimidine-binding protein (SPy) that could bind to two of these TC tracts in their double-stranded form, but was also capable of interacting with higher affinity to all three pyrimidine tracts in their single-stranded form. Mutations in the TC tracts, which abolished the ability of SPy to interact with its double-stranded DNA target, significantly reduced SRC1A promoter activity, especially in concert with mutations in critical Sp1 binding sites. Here we expand upon our characterization of this interesting factor and describe the purification of SPy from human SW620 colon cancer cells using a DNA affinity-based approach. Subsequent in-gel tryptic digestion of purified SPy followed by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometric analysis identified SPy as heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein K (hnRNP K), a known nucleic-acid binding protein implicated in various aspects of gene expression including transcription. These data provide new insights into the double- and single-stranded DNA-binding specificity, as well as functional properties of hnRNP K, and suggest that hnRNP K is a critical component of SRC1A transcriptional processes.
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Source
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC149839PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkg246DOI Listing
March 2003