2018 journal article
Qualitative metabolomics profiling of serum and bile from dogs with gallbladder mucocele formation
PLOS ONE, 13(1).
Mucocele formation is characterized by secretion of abnormally thick mucus by the gallbladder epithelium of dogs that may cause obstruction of the bile duct or rupture of the gallbladder. The disease is increasingly recognized and is associated with a high morbidity and mortality. The cause of gallbladder mucocele formation in dogs is unknown. There is a strong breed predisposition and affected dogs have a high incidence of concurrent endocrinopathy or hyperlipidemia. These observations suggest a significant influence of both genetic and metabolic factors on disease pathogenesis. In this study, we investigated a theory that mucocele formation is associated with a syndrome of metabolic disruption. We surmised that a global, untargeted metabolomics approach could provide unique insight into the systemic pathogenesis of gallbladder mucocele formation and identify specific compounds as candidate biomarkers or treatment targets. Moreover, concurrent examination of the serum and hepatic duct bile metabolome would enable the construction of mechanism-based theories or identification of specific compounds responsible for altered function of the gallbladder epithelium. Abnormalities observed in dogs with gallbladder mucocele formation, including a 33-fold decrease in serum adenosine 5'-monophosphate (AMP), lower quantities of precursors required for synthesis of energy transporting nucleotides, and increases in citric acid cycle intermediates, suggest excess metabolic energy and a carbon surplus. Altered quantities of compounds involved in protein translation and RNA turnover, together with accumulation of gamma-glutamylated and N-acetylated amino acids in serum suggest abnormal regulation of protein and amino acid metabolism. Increases in lathosterol and 7α-hydroxycholesterol suggest a primary increase in cholesterol synthesis and diversion to bile acid formation. A number of specific biomarker compounds were identified for their ability to distinguish between control dogs and those that formed a gallbladder mucocele. Particularly noteworthy was a significant decrease in quantity of biologically active compounds that stimulate biliary ductal fluid secretion including adenosine, cAMP, taurolithocholic acid, and taurocholic acid. These findings support the presence of significant metabolic disruption in dogs with mucocele formation. A targeted, quantitative analysis of the identified serum biomarkers is warranted to determine their utility for diagnosis of this disease. Finally, repletion of compounds whose biological activity normally promotes biliary ductal secretion should be examined for any therapeutic impact for resolution or prevention of mucocele formation.