Researchers from Colorado State University may have found a way to use small molecules to diagnose dengue fever, possibly also determining the progression of the illness.
Dengue fever, transmitted through bites from mosquitoes infected with the virus, may cause life-threatening dengue hemorrhagic/dengue shock syndrome. Currently, there are not any algorithms or biomarkers that can be used to determine the progression of the disease, to learn whether hemorrhagic fever or fatal shock syndrome are in the new future.
Now, CSU scientists have found that using small molecules placed into a patient serum may diagnose the disease as well as determine its severity.
The study involved serum samples from Mexico and Nicaragua. With mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography, the scientists detected molecular features from the groups of patients who have dengue fever, non-dengue, or dengue hemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome.
Dengue virus upsets the human metabolome, which can be seen inside the small molecule metabolites. There were different results from the Mexican and Nicaraguan samples; Mexico did not show any distinct metabolic clusters related to the three different diagnostic groups, while Nicaraguan did show the distinct clusters.
"Metabolomics provides new opportunities and a powerful approach to investigate potential viral, host, pathogenic and immunological determinants of dengue infection and pathogenesis," CSU's Barry Beaty said.