Biomedical Context

Cardiovascular disease

Changes in the lifestyle of developed and emerging countries favor the exponential appearance of metabolic disorders such as obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, among others. The appearance of these disorders has drastically increased the number of cardiovascular accidents, placing cardiovascular diseases as the leading cause of death worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, in 2015 there were 17.7 million deaths related to cardiovascular diseases, which accounted for 31% of all deaths worldwide.

Traditionally, the prediction of cardiovascular risk has been based on the analysis, among others, of a basic lipid profile, associating a high concentration of cholesterol transported by LDL or a low concentration of cholesterol transported by HDL to an increased risk of suffering a cardiovascular event . However, recent studies have shown that the classic parameter to assess cardiovascular risk, LDL (or bad) cholesterol, does not explain all cases of cardiovascular disease. It is estimated that 50% of cardiovascular accidents occur in individuals with normal levels of “bad” cholesterol or LDL.

In this context, the advanced characterization of lipoproteins, glycoproteins and low molecular weight metabolites associated with risk, complemented by the lipid profile, is of great help for the diagnosis and monitoring of pathologies related to disorders of metabolism, allowing the evaluation of the health status of patients with metabolic disorders and inflammatory processes, individuals with a higher risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular accidents.

Cancer

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Europe, the first among those under 65 years of age. In Spain, more than 200,000 people are diagnosed each year. A timely diagnosis can prevent its development.

For this reason, the study of metabolism for the identification of biomarkers, either for their prevention, for diagnosis, for patient stratification or to follow-up patients, is of great interest in order to acquire new complementary tools for improving people’s health.

The advanced characterization of lipoproteins, glycoproteins, low molecular weight metabolites and/or the lipidomic profile are promising tools for the study of inflammatory processes and metabolic alterations in order to obtain metabolic traces, profiles or signatures that characterize the course of cancer. Said tools can be used in biofluids from patients, such as serum, urine or feces, although studies can also be carried out in tissues, either from patients (tumor tissue or primary cultures) or basic studies on cell lines.

Other metabolic diseases

The study of the metabolic footprint of a patient, generally obtained non-invasively from the analysis of biofluids (eg serum, urine or faeces), contains information related to factors such as disease progression or response to treatments.

For this reason, the advanced characterization of lipoproteins, glycoproteins, low molecular weight metabolites and/or the lipidomic profile are promising tools both for the prevention and diagnosis of diseases and for the study of these diseases in order to obtain metabolic fingerprints, profiles or signatures that characterize the progression of the disease or the response to treatments.

Both serum and plasma are biofluids widely used as biological matrices in biomedical research to identify clinically relevant biomarkers. But these metabolic profiles can also be characterized in other matrices such as urine or feces, as well as in tissues or cell lines.

Figura 1. 1H-NMR spectrum of serum