Weight changes in hypertensive patients with phlegm-dampness syndrome: an integrated proteomics and metabolomics approach

Chi Zhang*, Li Li, Shiping Cheng, Debajyoti Chowdhury, Yong Tan , Xinru Liu, Ning Zhao, Xiaojuan He, Miao Jiang, Cheng Lu, Aiping Lyu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Background: Hypertension (HTN) patients who have phlegm-dampness syndrome (PDS) tend to be obese and have worse outcomes. However, the association of body weight (BW) changes and mechanisms underlying the pathophysiology of HTN-PDS are not well elucidated. This study aims to identify the longitudinal observations associated with the circulating markers discriminating BW changes of individuals with HTN-PDS.

Methods: An integrative approach relying on metabolomics and proteomics was applied to serum samples from HTN-PDS patients in a prospective cohort to identify the plausible mechanistic pathways underpinning HTN-PDS pathophysiology. Study participants were determined to have experienced a weight change if they showed a 5%-15% increase/reduction in BW at the end of the follow-up period. The joint pathway analysis and network analysis were performed using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA®) on the serum samples obtained from the participants over the period.

Results: The study involved 22 HTN-PDS patients who were overweight initially and were able to lose enough weight and 24 HTN-PDS individuals who developed overweight from normal BMI during a one-year follow-up. Our analysis suggested three types of phosphatidylcholine (PC) were altered. PC (22:2(13Z,16Z)/24:1(15Z)) and LysoPC (16:1(9Z)) were decreased in Queryweight gain samples, whereas the levels of PC (14:0/16:0) were increased in weight loss samples. The metabolomic analysis suggested 24 metabolites associated with HTN-PDS. Of them, 13 were up-regulated and 11 were down-regulated. The two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis (2D DIGE) identified 45 phosphorylated proteins got altered in the HTN-PDS patients, wherein 23 were up-regulated and 22 were down-regulated. Integrated proteomic and metabolomics analyse acknowledged biomarkers PC, Complement C3, C4a/C4b, A2M and SERPINF1 as strong predictors for BW changes in HTN-PDS patients.

Conclusion: The combined serum proteomic and metabolomic profiling reveals a link between BW change and the complement system activity, altered phosphatidylcholine metabolism in HTN-PDS patients. Future studies with larger cohorts are required to strengthen and validate these findings.
Original languageEnglish
Article number54
Number of pages14
JournalChinese Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2021

User-Defined Keywords

  • Hypertension
  • Chinese medicine syndrome
  • Metabolomics
  • Proteomics
  • Longitudinal study


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