Effects of dietary macronutrient composition on the fasted plasma metabolome of healthy adult cats

Ping Deng, Janice C. Jones, Kelly S. Swanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Metabolomics assays have recently been used in humans for the identification of biomarkers for dietary assessment and diseases. The application of metabolomics to feline nutrition, however, has been very limited. The objective of this study was to identify how the feline blood metabolome changed in response to dietary macronutrient composition. Twelve adult domestic cats were fed four nutritionally complete diets [control, high-fat (HF), high-protein (HP), high-carbohydrate (HC)] at amounts to maintain ideal body weight and body condition score for 16 days. Overnight fasted plasma samples were collected on day 16 and subjected to liquid/gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Principal component analysis showed that metabolite profiles of cats fed HP, HF, and HC dietary regimes formed distinct clusters. Cats fed the HP diet had a metabolite profile associated with decreased nucleotide catabolism, but increased amino acid metabolism and ketone bodies, indicating a greater use of protein and fat for energy. Cats fed the HP diet had a significant increase in metabolites associated with gut microbial metabolism. Cats fed the HF diet had metabolites indicative of increased lipid metabolism, including free fatty acids, monoacylglycerols, glycerol-3-phosphate, cholesterol, ketone bodies, and markers of oxidative stress. γ-glutamylleucine, 3-hydroxyisobutyrate, and 3-indoxyl sulfate were identified by random forest analysis to distinguish cats fed the three macronutrient-rich diets. In conclusion, macronutrient-rich diets primarily altered markers of amino acid and lipid metabolism, with little changes in markers of carbohydrate and energy metabolism. Moreover, the HP diet influenced several metabolites originating from gut microbial metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)638-650
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Dietary macronutrients
  • Feline nutrition
  • Gut microbial metabolites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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