Journal Article

Proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance—Based Metabonomics for Rapid Diagnosis of Meningitis and Ventriculitis

Muireann Coen, Matthew O'Sullivan, William A. Bubb, Philip W. Kuchel and Tania Sorrell

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 41, issue 11, pages 1582-1590
Published in print December 2005 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online December 2005 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI:
Proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance—Based Metabonomics for Rapid Diagnosis of Meningitis and Ventriculitis

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Immunology
  • Public Health and Epidemiology
  • Microbiology


Show Summary Details


Background. Reduction of mortality associated with bacterial meningitis and postsurgical cerebral ventriculitis is dependent on early diagnosis and institution of appropriate therapy. Metabonomics rapidly defines metabolic profiles of biological fluids through the use of high-throughput analytical techniques combined with statistical pattern recognition tools.

Methods. Proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR)-based metabonomics was applied to (1) lumbar cerebrospinal fluid samples collected prospectively from a cohort of patients with bacterial, fungal, or viral meningitis and from control subjects without neurological disease and (2) ventricular cerebrospinal fluid samples from patients with ventriculitis associated with an external ventricular drain and from control subjects. 1H NMR spectra were analyzed by the unsupervised statistical method of principal components analysis.

Results. Metabonomic analysis clearly distinguished patients with bacterial or fungal meningitis (11 patients) from patients with viral meningitis (12) and control subjects (27) and clearly distinguished patients with postsurgical ventriculitis (5) from postsurgical control subjects (10). Metabolites of microbial and host origin that were responsible for class separation were determined. Metabonomic data also correlated with the onset and course of infection in a patient with 2 episodes of bacterial ventriculitis and with response to therapy in another patient with cryptococcal meningitis.

Conclusions. Metabonomic analysis is rapid, requires minimal sample processing, and is not targeted to specific microbial pathogens, making the platform potentially suitable for use in the diagnostic laboratory. This pilot study indicates that metabonomic analysis of cerebrospinal fluid is feasible and a potentially more powerful diagnostic tool than conventional rapid laboratory indicators for distinguishing bacterial from viral meningitis and for monitoring therapy. This should have important implications for early management, reduced empirical use of antibiotics, and treatment duration.

Journal Article.  4669 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.