Putative metabolites involved in the beneficial effects of wholegrain cereal: Nontargeted metabolite profiling approach
Journal article, 2021

Background and aims: Wholegrain cereals have been implicated in the reduction of lifestyle-related chronic diseases risk including cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. Molecular mechanisms responsible for the beneficial health effects are not entirely understood. The aims of this study were 1) to identify new potential plasma biomarker candidate metabolites of wholegrain cereal foods intake and 2) to examine whether some putative metabolites associated with wholegrain foods intake may play a role in the improvement of cardiometabolic risk factors. Methods and results: Analysis have been conducted in 54 individuals with metabolic syndrome of both genders, age 40–65 years, randomly assigned to 2 dietary interventions lasting 12-week: 1) wholegrain enriched diet (n = 28), and 2) refined-wheat cereals diet (control diet) (n = 26). Nontargeted metabolite profiling analysis was performed on fasting plasma samples collected at baseline and at the end of the experimental diets. Our data show that, at the end of the intervention, a higher intake of wholegrain (tertile 3) was significantly associated with a marked increase in several lipid compounds, as PC (20:4/16:1), LPC (20:4), LPC (22:6), LPC (18:3), LPC (22:5), and a phenolic compound (P < .05 for all). In the wholegrain group, higher concentrations of these metabolites (tertile 3 vs tertile 1 of each metabolite) were significantly associated with lower postprandial insulin and triglyceride responses (P < .05) by 29% and 37%, respectively. Conclusion: These observations suggest a possible role of lipid and polyphenol metabolites in the postprandial metabolic benefits of wholegrains in subjects at high risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, they provide insight into the role of these metabolites as potential candidate biomarkers of wholegrain foods. The study was registered on ClinicalTrials.gov (identifier: NCT00945854).

Wholegrain cereals

Metabolic effect

Dietary biomarker


Nontargeted metabolite profiling


Marilena Vitale

University of Naples Federico II

Kati Hanhineva

University of Turku

University of Eastern Finland

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Food and Nutrition Science

Ville Mikael Koistinen

University of Eastern Finland

Seppo Auriola

University of Eastern Finland

Jussi Paananen

University of Eastern Finland

Giuseppina Costabile

University of Naples Federico II

Giuseppe Della Pepa

University of Naples Federico II

Angela A. Rivellese

University of Naples Federico II

Gabriele Riccardi

University of Naples Federico II

Rosalba Giacco

Consiglo Nazionale Delle Richerche

Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases

0939-4753 (ISSN) 1590-3729 (eISSN)

Vol. 31 4 1156-1165

Subject Categories

Endocrinology and Diabetes

Other Clinical Medicine

Nutrition and Dietetics





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