Metabolic profiling of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) could serve as a less invasive and more direct alternative to tissue biopsies or serum in metabolomic research. We conducted two exploratory independent studies in order to characterise PBMC's metabolomic profile following short-term vitamin D3 supplementation and to determine gender effects. In the first study, eight healthy males and females aged 40-65 y were randomly selected for profiling of PBMCs after receiving either 15 µg of vitamin D3 or placebo for four weeks. In the second study, twenty younger healthy males and females were studied. Cell metabolites were extracted and deproteinised using methanol/chloroform/water method and analysed by GC-MS. Higher vitamin D status had no effect on the fatty acid profile of PBMCs, but inflammatory biomarkers and adipokines correlated positively with stearic acid levels. In the second study, no gender-specific metabolites were identified. Valine, leucine and aspartic acid were identified as potential BMI-sensitive amino acids. Larger studies are needed to confirm the influence of BMI on these parameters. This work clearly demonstrates the utility of metabolomics profiling of PBMCs and paves the way for future applications of metabolomics in identifying metabolic profiles of blood cells as a measure for dietary intakes or physiological status.
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