Metabolomic profiling of anaerobic and aerobic energy metabolic pathways in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Mingshan Xue, Yifeng Zeng, Runpei Lin, Hui Qi Qu, Teng Zhang, Xiaohua Douglas Zhang, Yueting Liang, Yingjie Zhen, Hao Chen, Zhifeng Huang, Haisheng Hu, Peiyan Zheng, Hakon Hakonarson, Luqian Zhou, Baoqing Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


While there is no cure for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), its progressive nature and the formidable challenge to manage its symptoms warrant a more extensive study of the pathogenesis and related mechanisms. A new emphasis on COPD study is the change of energy metabolism. For the first time, this study investigated the anaerobic and aerobic energy metabolic pathways in COPD using the metabolomic approach. Metabolomic analysis was used to investigate energy metabolites in 140 COPD patients. The significance of energy metabolism in COPD was comprehensively explored by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease–GOLD grading, acute exacerbation vs. stable phase (either clinical stability or four-week stable phase), age group, smoking index, lung function, and COPD Assessment Test (CAT) score. Through comprehensive evaluation, we found that COPD patients have a significant imbalance in the aerobic and anaerobic energy metabolisms in resting state, and a high tendency of anaerobic energy supply mechanism that correlates positively with disease progression. This study highlighted the significance of anaerobic and low-efficiency energy supply pathways in lung injury and linked it to the energy-inflammation-lung ventilatory function and the motion limitation mechanism in COPD patients, which implies a novel therapeutic direction for this devastating disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1586-1596
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project No.: 81871736, 81601394), Bureau of traditional Chinese Medicine Scientific Research Project of Guangdong (Project No.: 20192048), Research Project of First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University (Project No.: ZH201915). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. No additional external funding was received for this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine.


  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • anaerobic glycolysis
  • energy metabolism cycle
  • metabolomics
  • tricarboxylic acid cycle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)


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