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Funded in part by the VCU Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund.

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October 2019


The clinical outcome of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (SCT) may be influenced by the metabolic status of the recipient following conditioning, which in turn may enable risk stratification with respect to the development of transplant-associated complications such as graft vs. host disease (GVHD). To better understand the impact of the metabolic profile of transplant recipients on post-transplant alloreactivity, we investigated the metabolic signature of 14 patients undergoing myeloablative conditioning followed by either human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched related or unrelated donor SCT, or autologous SCT. Blood samples were taken following conditioning and prior to transplant on day 0 and the plasma was comprehensively characterized with respect to its lipidome and metabolome via liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LCMS) and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GCMS). A pro-inflammatory metabolic profile was observed in patients who eventually developed GVHD. Five potential pre-transplant biomarkers, 2-aminobutyric acid, 1-monopalmitin, diacylglycerols (DG 38:5, DG 38:6), and fatty acid FA 20:1 demonstrated high sensitivity and specificity towards predicting post-transplant GVHD. The resulting predictive model demonstrated an estimated predictive accuracy of risk stratification of 100%, with area under the curve of the ROC of 0.995. The likelihood ratio of 1-monopalmitin (infinity), DG 38:5 (6.0), and DG 38:6 (6.0) also demonstrated that a patient with a positive test result for these biomarkers following conditioning and prior to transplant will be at risk of developing GVHD. Collectively, the data suggest the possibility that pre-transplant metabolic signature may be used for risk stratification of SCT recipients with respect to development of alloreactivity.


© 2019 by the authors. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

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VCU Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science Publications