University of Sussex
s12936-017-1875-z.pdf (1.01 MB)

A metabolomic analytical approach permits identification of urinary biomarkers for Plasmodium falciparum infection

Download (1.01 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-21, 06:02 authored by Salah Abdelrazig, Catherine A Ortori, Gail DaveyGail Davey, Wakgari Deressa, Mulleta Dhaba, David A Barret, Alemayhu Amberbir, Andrew W Fogarty
Background: Currently available diagnostic techniques of Plasmodium falciparum infection are not optimal for non-invasive, population-based screening for malaria. We hypothesized that a mass spectrometry-based metabolomics approach could identify urinary biomarkers of falciparum malaria. Methods: The study used a case-control design, with cases consisting of 21 adults in central Ethiopia with a diagnosis of Plasmodium falciparum infection confirmed with microscopy, and 25 controls of adults with negative blood smears for malaria matched on age and sex. Urinary samples were collected from these individuals during presentation at the clinic, and a second sample was collected from both cases and controls four weeks later, after the cases had received anti-malarial medication. The urine samples were screened for small molecule urinary biomarkers, using mass spectrometry-based metabolomics analyses followed by multivariate analysis using principal component analysis and orthogonal partial least square-discriminant analysis The chemical identity of statistically significant malaria biomarkers was confirmed using tandem mass spectrometry. Results: We found that the urinary metabolic profiles of cases with Plasmodium falciparum infection were distinct from healthy controls. After treatment with antimalarial medication, the metabolomic profile of cases resembled that of healthy controls. Significantly altered levels of 29 urinary metabolites were found. Elevated levels of urinary pipecolic acid, taurine, N-acetylspermidine, N-acetylputrescine and 1,3-diacetylpropane were identified as potential biomarkers of falciparum malaria. Conclusion: The urinary biomarkers of malaria identified have potential for the development of non-invasive and rapid diagnostic test of malaria infection.


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Published version


Malaria Journal




BioMed Central



Article number


Department affiliated with

  • Division of Medical Education Publications

Research groups affiliated with

  • Analysis and Partial Differential Equations Research Group Publications

Full text available

  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


First Open Access (FOA) Date


First Compliant Deposit (FCD) Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Publications)


    No categories selected