Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

OBJECTIVES: Distinguishing between the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn's disease (CD), and ulcerative colitis (UC) is important for both management and prognostic reasons. Discrimination using noninvasive techniques could be an adjunct to conventional diagnostics. Differences have been shown between the intestinal microbiota of CD and UC patients and controls; the gut bacteria influence specific urinary metabolites that are quantifiable using proton high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. This study tested the hypothesis that such metabolites differ between IBD and control cohorts, and that using multivariate pattern-recognition analysis, the cohorts could be distinguished by urine NMR spectroscopy. METHODS: NMR spectra were acquired from urine samples of 206 Caucasian subjects (86 CD patients, 60 UC patients, and 60 healthy controls). Longitudinal samples were collected from 75 individuals. NMR resonances specific for metabolites influenced by the gut microbes were studied, including hippurate, formate, and 4-cresol sulfate. Multivariate analysis of all urinary metabolites involved principal components analysis (PCA) and partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA). RESULTS: Hippurate levels were lowest in CD patients and differed significantly between the three cohorts (P<0.0001). Formate levels were higher and 4-cresol sulfate levels lower in CD patients than in UC patients or controls (P=0.0005 and P=0.0002, respectively). PCA revealed clustering of the groups; PLS-DA modeling was able to distinguish the cohorts. These results were independent of medication and diet and were reproducible in the longitudinal cohort. CONCLUSIONS: Specific urinary metabolites related to gut microbial metabolism differ between CD patients, UC patients, and controls. The emerging technique of urinary metabolic profiling with multivariate analysis was able to distinguish these cohorts.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Gastroenterol

Publication Date





1435 - 1444


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Biomarkers, Colitis, Ulcerative, Cresols, Crohn Disease, Female, Formates, Hippurates, Humans, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Male, Middle Aged, Prognosis, Sulfuric Acid Esters, Young Adult