Meta-analysis of global metabolomic data identifies metabolites associated with life-span extension

Gary J. Patti, Ralf Tautenhahn, Darcy Johannsen, Ewa Kalisiak, Eric Ravussin, Jens C. Brüning, Andrew Dillin, Gary Siuzdak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The manipulation of distinct signaling pathways and transcription factors has been shown to influence life span in a cell-non-autonomous manner in multicellular model organisms such as Caenorhabditis elegans. These data suggest that coordination of whole-organism aging involves endocrine signaling, however, the molecular identities of such signals have not yet been determined and their potential relevance in humans is unknown. Here we describe a novel metabolomic approach to identify molecules directly associated with extended life span in C. elegans that represent candidate compounds for age-related endocrine signals. To identify metabolic perturbations directly linked to longevity, we developed metabolomic software for meta-analysis that enabled intelligent comparisons of multiple different mutants. Simple pairwise comparisons of long-lived glp-1, daf-2, and isp-1 mutants to their respective controls resulted in more than 11,000 dysregulated metabolite features of statistical significance. By using meta-analysis, we were able to reduce this number to six compounds most likely to be associated with life-span extension. Mass spectrometry-based imaging studies suggested that these metabolites might be localized to C. elegans muscle. We extended the metabolomic analysis to humans by comparing quadricep muscle tissue from young and old individuals and found that two of the same compounds associated with longevity in worms were also altered in human muscle with age. These findings provide candidate compounds that may serve as age-related endocrine signals and implicate muscle as a potential tissue regulating their levels in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-743
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Aging
  • C. elegans
  • Meta-analysis
  • Metabolism
  • Metabolomics
  • Sarcopenia


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