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Do nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)-based metabolomics improve the prediction of pregnancy-related disorders?

By Nancy McBride, Sara L White, Diane Farrar, Lucilla Poston, Naveed Sattar, Scott M. Nelson, John Wright, Dan Mason, Matthew Suderman, Caroline Relton, Paul Yousefi, Deborah A. Lawlor

Posted 22 Jun 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.06.22.20134650

Abstract Background Prediction of pregnancy-related disorders is mostly done based on established and easily measured risk factors. However, these measures are at best moderate at discriminating between high and low risk women. Recent advances in metabolomics may provide earlier and more accurate prediction of women at risk of pregnancy-related disorders. Methods and Findings We used data collected from women in the Born in Bradford (BiB; n=8,212) and UK Pregnancies Better Eating and Activity Trial (UPBEAT; n=859) studies to create and validate prediction models for pregnancy-related disorders. These were gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP), small for gestational age (SGA), large for gestational age (LGA) and preterm birth (PTB). We used ten-fold cross-validation and penalised regression to create prediction models. We compared the predictive performance of 1) risk factors (maternal age, pregnancy smoking status, body mass index, ethnicity and parity) to 2) nuclear magnetic resonance-derived metabolites (N = 156 quantified metabolites, collected at 24-28 weeks gestation) and 3) risk factors and metabolites combined. The multi-ethnic BiB cohort was used for training and testing the models, with independent validation conducted in UPBEAT, a study of multi-ethnic obese pregnant women. In BiB, discrimination for GDM, HDP, LGA and SGA was improved with the addition of metabolites to the risk factors only model. Risk factors area under the curve (AUC 95% confidence interval (CI)): GDM (0.69 (0.64, 0.73)), HDP (0.74 (0.70, 0.78)) and LGA (0.71 (0.66, 0.75)), and SGA (0.59 (0.56,0.63)). Combined AUC 95% (CI)): GDM (0.78 (0.74, 0.81)), HDP (0.76 (0.73, 0.79)) and LGA (0.75 (0.70, 0.79)), and SGA (0.66 (0.63,0.70)). For GDM, HDP, LGA, but not SGA, calibration was good for a combined risk factor and metabolite model. Prediction of PTB was poor for all models. Independent validation in UPBEAT at 24-28 weeks and 15-18 weeks gestation confirmed similar patterns of results, but AUC were attenuated. A key limitation was our inability to identify a large general pregnancy population for independent validation. Conclusions Our results suggest metabolomics combined with established risk factors improves prediction GDM, HDP and LGA, when compared to risk factors alone. They also highlight the difficulty of predicting PTB, with all models performing poorly.

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