Metabolomic analysis of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid in preterm infants complicated by respiratory distress syndrome: preliminary results

Adele Fabiano, Diego Gazzolo*, Luc J. I. Zimmermann, Antonio W. D. Gavilanes, Piermichele Paolillo, Vassilios Fanos, Pierluigi Caboni, Luigi Barberini, Antonio Noto, Luigi Atzori

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: Metabolomics is a technique used to non-invasively determine a snapshot of the current metabolic status of an organism by analyzing intact tissue or bio-fluids. The aim of the present preliminary study was to analyze metabolic profiles in preterm infants complicated by respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) trough bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) measurement. Methods: Twelve BALF samples collected at birth prior surfactant, post-surfactant during mechanical ventilation and at extubation time-points, were analyzed by proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and Gas chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS). Results: GC-MS analysis identified 25 metabolites of whom 10 had a known molecular structure. They were: undecane, decanoic acid, dodecanoic acid, hexadecanoic acid, octadecanoic acid, hexadecanoic acid methyl ester, 9-octadecanoic acid, tetracosanoic acid, myristic acid, phosphate. These metabolites were over-expressed in BALF collected during mechanical ventilation after surfactant administration. Conclusions: The present preliminary data suggest that metabolic profile in BALF of RDS infants is becoming possible opening a new cue of metabolomics as promising tool in management of sick premature infants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-59
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • BALF
  • BPD
  • RDS
  • metabolomics
  • prematurity
  • newborn

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