Plasma acylcarnitines as metabolic signatures of declining health-related quality of life measure in community-dwelling older adults: a combined cross-sectional and longitudinal pilot study.
BACKGROUND: Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) measures are predictors of adverse health outcomes in older adults. Studies have demonstrated cross-sectional associations between HRQoL measures and blood-based biochemical markers. Acylcarnitines (ACs) are a class of metabolites generated in the mitochondria and are predictive of multiple geriatric syndromes. Changes in ACs reflect alterations in central carbon metabolic pathways. However, the prospective relationship between plasma acylcarnitines and declining HRQoL has not been examined. This study aimed to investigate both cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of baseline ACs with baseline and declining EuroQol-5 Dimension/ EuroQol Visual Analogue Scale (EQ-5D/ EQ-VAS) in community-dwelling older adults. METHODS: 120 community-dwelling older adults with EQ-5D/ EQ-VAS measurements at baseline and follow-up were included. We quantified ACs at baseline using targeted plasma metabolomics profiling. Multivariate regressions were performed to examine cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between the measures. RESULTS: Cross-sectionally, ACs showed no significant associations with either EQ-5D index or EQ-VAS scores. Longitudinally, multiple baseline short-chain ACs were significantly and inversely associated with declining EQ-5D index score, explaining up to 8.5% of variance in the decline. CONCLUSIONS: Within a cohort of community-dwelling older adults who had high HRQoL at baseline, we showed that short-chain acylcarnitines are independent predictors of declining HRQoL. These findings reveal a novel association between central carbon metabolic pathways and declining HRQoL. Notably, dysregulation in mitochondrial central carbon metabolism could be detected prior to clinically important decline in HRQoL, providing the first evidence of objective biomarkers as novel predictors to monitor HRQoL in non-pharmacological interventions and epidemiology.