Urine-based Detection of Congenital Portosystemic Shunt in C57BL/6 Mice

Beng San Yeoh, Rachel M. Golonka, Piu Saha, Mrunmayee R. Kandalgaonkar, Yuan Tian, Islam Osman, Andrew D. Patterson, Andrew T. Gewirtz, Bina Joe, Matam Vijay-Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sporadic occurrence of congenital portosystemic shunt (PSS) at a rate of ?1 out of 10 among C57BL/6 J mice, which are widely used in biomedical research, results in aberrancies in serologic, metabolic, and physiologic parameters. Therefore, mice with PSS should be identified as outliers in research. Accordingly, we sought methods to, reliably and efficiently, identify PSS mice. Serum total bile acids ? 40 ?m is a bona fide biomarker of PSS in mice but utility of this biomarker is limited by its cost and invasiveness, particularly if large numbers of mice are to be screened. This led us to investigate if assay of urine might serve as a simple, inexpensive, noninvasive means of PSS diagnosis. Metabolome profiling uncovered that Krebs cycle intermediates, that is, citrate, ?-ketoglutarate, and fumarate, were strikingly and distinctly elevated in the urine of PSS mice. We leveraged the iron-chelating and pH-lowering properties of such metabolites as the basis for 3 urine-based PSS screening tests: urinary iron-chelation assay, pH strip test, and phenol red assay. Our findings demonstrate the feasibility of using these colorimetric assays, whereby their readout can be assessed by direct observation, to diagnose PSS in an inexpensive, rapid, and noninvasive manner. Application of our urinary PSS screening protocols can aid biomedical research by enabling stratification of PSS mice, which, at present, likely confound numerous ongoing studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberzqad040
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research

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