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Regulation of blood glucose requires precise coordination between different endocrine systems and multiple organs. Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) arises from a dysregulated response to elevated glucose levels in the circulation. Globally, the prevalence of T2D has increased dramatically in all age groups. T2D in older adults is associated with higher mortality and reduced functional status, leading to higher rate of institutionalization. Despite the potential healthcare challenges associated with the presence of T2D in the elderly, the pathogenesis and phenotype of late-onset T2D is not well studied. Here we applied untargeted metabolite profiling of urine samples from people with and without late-onset T2D using ultra-performance liquid-chromatography mass-spectrometry (UPLC-MS) to identify urinary biomarkers for late-onset T2D in the elderly. Statistical modeling of measurements and thorough validation of structural assignment using liquid chromatography tandem mass-spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) have led to the identification of metabolite biomarkers associated with late-onset T2D. Lower levels of phenylalanine, acetylhistidine, and cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) were found in urine samples of T2D subjects validated with commercial standards. Elevated levels of 5'-methylthioadenosine (MTA), which previously has only been implicated in animal model of diabetes, was found in urine of older people with T2D.

Original publication




Journal article


Scientific reports

Publication Date





Singapore Phenome Center, Experimental Medicine Building, Nanyang Technological University, 59 Nanyang Drive, Singapore, 636921, Singapore.


SPC Team, ActiFE Study Group, Humans, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Chromatography, Liquid, Case-Control Studies, Age Factors, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Female, Male, Tandem Mass Spectrometry, Metabolomics, Metabolome, Biomarkers