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Probing the pathology of pulmonary fibrosis using NMR metabolomics

EMSL Project ID


Pulmonary fibrosis is a relatively common condition affecting two-hundred thousand people in the US. The mean duration of survival from the time of diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is 2.5 years. Unfortunately, there are no effective treatments, lending urgency to research targeting IPF disease pathogenesis and pharmacologic therapy. We have previously utilized NMR metabolomics to compare lung tissue from patients with IPF to samples from healthy controls, yielding the important observation that lactic acid, a well-known metabolite of anaerobic respiration, was significantly elevated in the lung tissues of patients with IPF compared to controls. Our supporting data show that specific metabolites of the lactate pathway, as well as others we have identified, are potential disease biomarkers involved in pathogenesis. This project will expand upon our preliminary data, using NMR metabolomics to investigate additional pathways that may be dysregulated in IPF. We will examine exhaled breath condensate, serum/plasma and urine samples from patients with IPF and compare the metabolites in these biological samples to metabolites from healthy controls or from patients with other lung diseases such as COPD.

Project Details

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Principal Investigator

Nancy Isern
Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory

Team Members

Jian-zhi Hu
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory