A non-targeted LC-MS metabolic profiling of pregnancy: longitudinal evidence from healthy and pre-eclamptic pregnancies

Tiina Jääskeläinen, Olli Kärkkäinen, Jenna Jokkala, Anton Klåvus, Seppo Heinonen, Seppo Auriola, Marko Lehtonen, FINNPEC Core Investigator Group, Eero Kajantie, Juha Kere, Katja Kivinen, Anneli Pouta, Kati Hanhineva, Hannele Laivuori

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INTRODUCTION: Maternal metabolism changes substantially during pregnancy. However, few studies have used metabolomics technologies to characterize changes across gestation. OBJECTIVES AND METHODS: We applied liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) based non-targeted metabolomics to determine whether the metabolic profile of serum differs throughout the pregnancy between pre-eclamptic and healthy women in the FINNPEC (Finnish Genetics of Preeclampsia Consortium) Study. Serum samples were available from early and late pregnancy. RESULTS: Progression of pregnancy had large-scale effects to the serum metabolite profile. Altogether 50 identified metabolites increased and 49 metabolites decreased when samples of early pregnancy were compared to samples of late pregnancy. The metabolic signatures of pregnancy were largely shared in pre-eclamptic and healthy women, only urea, monoacylglyceride 18:1 and glycerophosphocholine were identified to be increased in the pre-eclamptic women when compared to healthy controls. CONCLUSIONS: Our study highlights the need of large-scale longitudinal metabolomic studies in non-complicated pregnancies before more detailed understanding of metabolism in adverse outcomes could be provided. Our findings are one of the first steps for a broader metabolic understanding of the physiological changes caused by pregnancy per se.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • LC–MS
  • Metabolomics
  • Preeclampsia
  • Pregnancy

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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