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1.
Changes in exhaled volatile organic compounds following indirect bronchial challenge in suspected asthma
Adam Peel, Ran Wang, Waqar Ahmed, Iain R. White, Maxim Wilkinson, Yoon K. Loke, Andrew M. Wilson, Stephen J. Fowler, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: Background Inhaled mannitol provokes bronchoconstriction via mediators released during osmotic degranulation of inflammatory cells, and, hence represents a useful diagnostic test for asthma and model for acute attacks. We hypothesised that the mannitol challenge would trigger changes in exhaled volatile organic compounds (VOCs), generating both candidate biomarkers and novel insights into their origin. Methods Participants with a clinical diagnosis of asthma, or undergoing investigation for suspected asthma, were recruited. Inhaled mannitol challenges were performed, followed by a sham challenge after 2 weeks in participants with bronchial hyper-responsiveness (BHR). VOCs were collected before and after challenges and analysed using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Results Forty-six patients (mean (SD) age 52 (16) years) completed a mannitol challenge, of which 16 (35%) were positive, and 15 of these completed a sham challenge. Quantities of 16 of 51 identified VOCs changed following mannitol challenge (p<0.05), of which 11 contributed to a multivariate sparse partial least square discriminative analysis model, with a classification error rate of 13.8%. Five of these 16 VOCs also changed (p<0.05) in quantity following the sham challenge, along with four further VOCs. In patients with BHR to mannitol distinct postchallenge VOC signatures were observed compared with post-sham challenge. Conclusion Inhalation of mannitol was associated with changes in breath VOCs, and in people with BHR resulted in a distinct exhaled breath profile when compared with a sham challenge. These differentially expressed VOCs are likely associated with acute airway inflammation and/or bronchoconstriction and merit further investigation as potential biomarkers in asthma.
Keywords: asthma, exhaled volatile organic compounds, pulmonology, breath metabolomics
Published in RUNG: 31.07.2023; Views: 963; Downloads: 3
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2.
Breath and plasma metabolomics to assess inflammation in acute stroke
Waqar Ahmed, Iain R. White, Maxim Wilkinson, Craig Johnson, Nicholas J. W. Rattray, Amit K. Kishore, Royston Goodacre, Craig J. Smith, Stephen J. Fowler, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: Inflammation is strongly implicated in both injury and repair processes occurring after stroke. In this exploratory study we assessed the feasibility of repeated sampling of exhaled volatile organic compounds and performed an untargeted metabolomic analysis of plasma collected at multiple time periods after stroke. Metabolic profiles were compared with the time course of the inflammatory markers C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). Serial breath sampling was well-tolerated by all patients and the measurement appears feasible in this group. We found that exhaled decanal tracks CRP and IL-6 levels post-stroke and correlates with several metabolic pathways associated with a post-stroke inflammatory response. This suggests that measurement of breath and blood metabolites could facilitate development of novel therapeutic and diagnostic strategies. Results are discussed in relation to the utility of breath analysis in stroke care, such as in monitoring recovery and complications including stroke associated infection.
Keywords: stroke, metabolomics, breath, VOCs, inflammation
Published in RUNG: 18.11.2021; Views: 1765; Downloads: 62
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3.
The peppermint breath test: a benchmarking protocol for breath sampling and analysis using GC-MS
Maxim Wilkinson, Iain R. White, Katie Hamshere, Olaf Holz, Sven Schuchardt, Francesca G. Bellagambi, Tommaso Lomonaco, Denise Biagini, Laura Di Francesco, Stephen J. Fowler, 2020, original scientific article

Abstract: Exhaled breath contains hundreds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which offers the potential for diagnosing and monitoring a wide range of diseases. As the breath research field has grown, sampling and analytical practices have become highly varied between groups. Standardisation would allow meta-analyses of data from multiple studies and greater confidence in published results. The Peppermint Consortium has been formed to address this task of standardisation. In the current study we aimed to generate initial benchmark values for thermal desorption-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (TD-GC-MS) analysis of breath samples containing peppermint-derived VOCs. Headspace analysis of peppermint oil capsules was performed to determine compounds of interest. Ten healthy participants were recruited by three groups. Each participant provided a baseline breath sample prior to taking a peppermint capsule, with further samples collected at 60, 90, 165, 285 and 360 min following ingestion. Sampling and analytical protocols were different for each institution, in line with their usual practice. Samples were analysed by TD-GC-MS and benchmarking values determined for the time taken for detected peppermint VOCs to return to baseline values. Sixteen compounds were identified in the capsule headspace. Additionally, 2,3-dehydro-1,8-cineole was uniquely found in the breath samples, with a washout profile that suggested it was a product of peppermint metabolism. Five compounds (α-pinene, β-pinene, eucalyptol, menthol and menthone) were quantified by all three groups. Differences in recovery were observed between the groups, particularly for menthone and menthol. The average time taken for VOCs to return to baseline was selected as the benchmark and were 441, 648, 1736, 643 and 375 min for α-pinene, β-pinene, eucalyptol, menthone and menthol respectively. An initial set of easy-to-measure benchmarking values for assessing the performance of TD-GC-MS systems for the analysis of VOCs in breath is presented. These values will be updated when more groups provide additional data.
Keywords: Volatile organic compounds, breath, diagnostics, standardisation
Published in RUNG: 11.12.2020; Views: 3077; Downloads: 0
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4.
Effects of high relative humidity and dry purging on VOCs obtained during breath sampling on common sorbent tubes
Maxim Wilkinson, Iain R. White, Roy Goodacre, Tamara Nijsen, Stephen Fowler, 2020, original scientific article

Abstract: Offline breath analysis by thermal desorption gas chromatography mass spectrometry (TD-GC-MS) requires the use of sorbent traps to concentrate and store volatile compounds. The selection of which sorbent to use and best practices for managing high relative humidity are important considerations to allow for reproducible, untargeted, biomarker discovery in water saturated breath samples. This work aims to assess three commonly used sorbent materials for their use in breath volatile sampling and determine how the high relative humidity inherent in such samples effects the capture of volatile compounds of interest. TenaxGR, TenaxTA/Carbograph1TD and TenaxTA/Carbograph5TD tubes were selected as they are the most commonly used sorbents in the breath sampling literature. The recovery of 29 compounds in a standard mix loaded using high humidity gas was tested for each sorbent and compared to loading in dry gas. Water retention and dry purge rates were determined for each sorbent for 500 ml and 1000 ml breath collections. Finally, breath samples were collected simultaneously on to each sorbent type using the ReCIVA and analysed by TD-GC-MS. All three sorbents exhibited acceptable reproducibility when loaded with the standard mix in dry gas (RSD < 10%). Loading the standard mix in humid gas led to reduced recovery of compounds based on their chemical properties. Dry purging performance for each sorbent material was assessed and was shown to be 1.14, 1.13 and 0.89 mg H2O min−1 for TenaxGR, TenaxTA/Carbograph1TD and TenaxTA/Carbograph5TD respectively when flushed with 50 ml min−1 of N2. A comparison of breath profiles on different sorbents showed differences in background artefacts (sulfur dioxide, cyclopenten-1-one and 3-nonene) and endogenous breath compounds (2-methyl-furan and furfural). This work demonstrates that high relative humidity during sampling reduces the ability of sorbent tubes to capture volatile compounds and could impact method detection limits during breath sampling. Sufficient water to impair accurate analysis was retained on all tubes. Minimal differences were observed between sorbent materials when used to sample breath, however, suggestions are provided for sorbent selection for future studies.
Keywords: VOCs, Breath sampling, ReCIVA
Published in RUNG: 27.07.2020; Views: 2986; Downloads: 112
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5.
A microbiome and metabolomic signature of phases of cutaneous healing identified by profiling sequential acute wounds of human skin: An exploratory study
Mohammed Ashrafi, Yun Xu, Howbeer Muhamadali, Iain R. White, Maxim Wilkinson, Mohamed Baguneid, Roy Goodacre, Ardeshir Bayat, 2020, original scientific article

Abstract: Profiling skin microbiome and metabolome has been utilised to gain further insight into wound healing processes. The aims of this multi-part temporal study in 11 volunteers were to analytically profile the dynamic wound tissue and headspace metabolome and sequence microbial communities in acute wound healing at days 0, 7, 14, 21 and 28, and to investigate their relationship to wound healing, using non-invasive quantitative devices. Metabolites were obtained using tissue extraction, sorbent and polydimethylsiloxane patches and analysed using GCMS. PCA of wound tissue metabolome clearly separated time points with 10 metabolites of 346 being involved in separation. Analysis of variance-simultaneous component analysis identified a statistical difference between the wound headspace metabolome, sites (P = 0.0024) and time points (P<0.0001), with 10 out of the 129 metabolites measured involved with this separation between sites and time points. A reciprocal relationship between Staphylococcus spp. and Propionibacterium spp. was observed at day 21 (P<0.05) with a statistical correlation between collagen and Propionibacterium (r = 0.417; P = 0.038) and Staphylococcus (r = -0.434; P = 0.03). Procrustes analysis showed a statistically significant similarity between wound headspace and tissue metabolome with non-invasive wound devices. This exploratory study demonstrates the temporal and dynamic nature of acute wound metabolome and microbiome presenting a novel class of biomarkers that correspond to wound healing, with further confirmatory studies now necessary.
Keywords: metabolomics, skin, volatile organic compounds, VOCs, wound healing
Published in RUNG: 03.03.2020; Views: 3109; Downloads: 0
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