University of Sussex

File(s) not publicly available

Use of a pre-analysis osmolality normalisation method to correct for variable urine concentrations and for improved metabolomic analyses

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-09, 00:29 authored by Andrew J Chetwynd, Alaa Abdul-Sada, Stephen G Holt, Elizabeth M Hill
Metabolomics analyses of urine have the potential to provide new information on the detection and progression of many disease processes. However, urine samples can vary significantly in total solute concentration and this presents a challenge to achieve high quality metabolomic datasets and the detection of biomarkers of disease or environmental exposures. This study investigated the efficacy of pre- and post-analysis normalisation methods to analyse metabolomic datasets obtained from neat and diluted urine samples from five individuals. Urine samples were extracted by solid phase extraction (SPE) prior to metabolomic analyses using a sensitive nanoflow/nanospray LC–MS technique and the data analysed by principal component analyses (PCA). Post-analysis normalisation ofthe datasets to either creatinine or osmolality concentration, or to mass spectrum total signal (MSTS), revealed that sample discrimination was driven by the dilution factor of urine rather than the individual providing the sample. Normalisation of urine samples to equal osmolality concentration prior to LC–MS analysis resulted in clustering of the PCAscores plot according to sample source and significantimprovements inthenumber of peaks common to samples of all three dilutions from each individual. In addition, the ability to identify discriminating markers, using orthogonal partial least squared-discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA), was greatly improved when pre-analysis normalisation to osmolality was compared with post-analysis normalisation to osmolality and non-normalised datasets. Further improvements for peak area repeatability were observed in some samples when the pre-analysis normalisation to osmolality was combined with a post-analysis mass spectrum total useful signal (MSTUS) or MSTS normalisation. Future adoption of such normalisation methods may reduce the variability in metabolomics analyses due to differing urine concentrations and improve the discovery of discriminating metabolites associated with sample source.


Publication status

  • Published


Journal of Chromatography A







Page range


Department affiliated with

  • Chemistry Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Publications)


    No categories selected