Metabolomics of sebum reveals lipid dysregulation in Parkinson's disease

Eleanor Sinclair, Drupad K Trivedi, Depanjan Sarkar, Caitlin Walton-Doyle, Joy Milne, Tilo Kunath, Anouk M Rijs, Rob M A de Bie, Royston Goodacre, Monty Silverdale, Perdita Barran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, which is characterised by degeneration of distinct neuronal populations, including dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra. Here, we use a metabolomics profiling approach to identify changes to lipids in PD observed in sebum, a non-invasively available biofluid. We used liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) to analyse 274 samples from participants (80 drug naïve PD, 138 medicated PD and 56 well matched control subjects) and detected metabolites that could predict PD phenotype. Pathway enrichment analysis shows alterations in lipid metabolism related to the carnitine shuttle, sphingolipid metabolism, arachidonic acid metabolism and fatty acid biosynthesis. This study shows sebum can be used to identify potential biomarkers for PD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1592
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2021


  • Aged
  • Arachidonic Acid/metabolism
  • Biomarkers/analysis
  • Carnitine/metabolism
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Fatty Acids/biosynthesis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism/physiology
  • Lipids/analysis
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Metabolomics/methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease/pathology
  • Sebum/metabolism
  • Sphingolipids/metabolism


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