Malodorous biogenic amines in Escherichia coli-caused urinary tract infections in women—a metabolomics approach
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Many women suffer from urinary tract infections (UTIs). In addition to pain and increased urgency to urinate, malodour is a significant issue for these patients. The specific factors causing this malodour are unclear, and there are no targeted treatment options to counteract it effectively. We used a metabolomics approach to compare the chemical composition of metabolites in the urine of women with E. coli UTIs (n = 15) and those who are healthy (n = 10). The biogenic amines trimethylamine and putrescine, which cause malodour in other urogenital conditions, were significantly increased in UTI patients. Conversely, the precursor of trimethylamine, trimethylamine N-oxide, was lower. To further confirm the source of the malodorous compounds, in vitro experiments were conducted by incubating strains of uropathogenic E. coli in sterilized urine from healthy women. All tested strains accumulated trimethylamine and putrescine. Notably, cadaverine was also produced by E. coli strains in vitro; however, it was not significantly different between both groups. We confirmed that the malodorous amines TMA and putrescine are found in higher concentrations in the urine of patients with an E.coli-caused UTI.