Multilevel data analysis of a cross-over designed human nutritional study

A new method is introduced for the analysis of 'omics' data derived from crossover designed drug or nutritional intervention studies. The method aims at finding systematic variations in metabolic profiles after a drug or nutritional challenge and takes advantage of the crossover design in the data. The method, which can be considered as a multivariate extension of a paired t test, generates different multivariate submodels for the between- and the within-subject variation in the data. A major advantage of this variation splitting is that each submodel can be analyzed separately without being confounded with the other variation sources. The power of the multilevel approach is demonstrated in a human nutritional intervention study which used NMR-based metabolomics to assess the metabolic impact of grape/wine extract consumption. The variations in the urine metabolic profiles are studied between and within the human subjects using the multilevel analysis. After variation splitting, multilevel PCA is used to investigate the experimental and biological differences between the subjects, whereas a multilevel PLS-DA model is used to reveal the net treatment effect within the subjects. The observed treatment effect is validated with cross model validation and permutations. It is shown that the statistical significance of the multilevel classification model ( p << 0.0002) is a major improvement compared to a ordinary PLS-DA model ( p = 0.058) without variation splitting. Finally, rank products are used to determine which NMR signals are most important in the multilevel classification model.


E.J.J. van Velzen, J.A. Westerhuis, J.P.M. van Duynhoven, F.A. van Dorsten, H.C.J. Hoefsloot, D.M. Jacobs, S. Smit, R. Draijer, C.I. Kroner, A.K. Smilde
Publication data (text): 
2008;7 (10): 4483-4491
Published in: 
Journal of Proteome Research
Date of publication: 
October, 2008
Status of the publication: