Metabolomics in early life and the association with body composition at age 2 years

Inge A.L.P. van Beijsterveldt, Stuart G. Snowden, Pernille Neve Myers, Kirsten S. de Fluiter, Bert van de Heijning, Susanne Brix, Ken K. Ong, David B. Dunger, Anita C.S. Hokken-Koelega*, Albert Koulman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background and Objectives: Early life is a critical window for adiposity programming. Metabolic-profile in early life may reflect this programming and correlate with later life adiposity. We investigated if metabolic-profile at 3 months of age is predictive for body composition at 2 years and if there are differences between boys and girls and between infant feeding types. Methods: In 318 healthy term-born infants, we determined body composition with skinfold measurements and abdominal ultrasound at 3 months and 2 years of age. High-throughput-metabolic-profiling was performed on 3-month-blood-samples. Using random-forest-machine-learning-models, we studied if the metabolic-profile at 3 months can predict body composition outcomes at 2 years of age. Results: Plasma metabolite-profile at 3 months was found to predict body composition at 2 years, based on truncal: peripheral-fat-skinfold-ratio (T:P-ratio), with a predictive value of 75.8%, sensitivity of 100% and specificity of 50%. Predictive value was higher in boys (Q2 = 0.322) than girls (Q2 = 0.117). Of the 15 metabolite variables most strongly associated with T:P-ratio, 11 were also associated with visceral fat at 2 years of age. Conclusion: Several plasma metabolites (LysoPC(22:2), dimethylarginine and others) at 3 months associate with body composition outcome at 2 years. These results highlight the importance of the first months of life for adiposity programming.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12859
JournalPediatric obesity
Issue number3
Early online date13 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


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