Age- and Sex-Dependent Changes of Free Circulating Blood Metabolite and Lipid Abundances, Correlations, and Ratios

Cesare, Francesca Di; Luchinat, Claudio; Tenori, Leonardo; Saccenti, Edoardo


In this study, we investigated how the concentrations, pairwise correlations and ratios of 202 free circulating blood metabolites and lipids vary with age in a panel of n = 1 882 participants with an age range from 48 to 94 years. We report a statistically significant sex-dependent association with age of a panel of metabolites and lipids involving, in women, linoleic acid, α-linoleic acid, and carnitine, and, in men, monoacylglycerols and lysophosphatidylcholines. Evaluating the association of correlations among metabolites and/or lipids with age, we found that phosphatidylcholines correlations tend to have a positive trend associated with age in women, and monoacylglycerols and lysophosphatidylcholines correlations tend to have a negative trend associated with age in men. The association of ratio between molecular features with age reveals that decanoyl-l-carnitine/lysophosphatidylcholine ratio in women “decrease” with age, while l-carnitine/phosphatidylcholine and l-acetylcarnitine/phosphatidylcholine ratios in men “increase” with age. These results suggest an age-dependent remodeling of lipid metabolism that induces changes in cell membrane bilayer composition and cell cycle mechanisms. Furthermore, we conclude that lipidome is directly involved in this age-dependent differentiation. Our results demonstrate that, using a comprehensive approach focused on the changes of concentrations and relationships of blood metabolites and lipids, as expressed by their correlations and ratios, it is possible to obtain relevant information about metabolic dynamics associated with age.