What is Metabolomics?

Posted by beauty33 on November 16th, 2021

Metabolomics is a discipline developed in the late 1990s. Metabolomics is the science of studying the types, quantities and changing laws of metabolites of organisms after being disturbed.

Life in a cell is carried out by many genes, proteins, and small molecular metabolites. The functional changes of upstream macromolecules (nucleic acids, proteins, etc.) will eventually be reflected in the metabolic level, such as changes in neurotransmitters, hormone regulation, receptor effects, cell signal release, energy transfer and communication between cells, etc. Therefore, the metabolome is downstream of the network of gene regulation and protein action, providing the terminal information of biology.

Metabolomics focuses on the study of the metabolic pathways of endogenous metabolites in the whole organism, organs or tissues, and the influence of internal or external factors and the law of changes over time. By revealing the overall change track of metabolism under the influence of internal and external factors, metabolomics can reflect a series of biological events that occur in a certain pathophysiological process.

Strategies for metabolomics analysis

Generally, the research object of metabolomics is small molecule compounds with a molecular weight below 1000. Different research strategies are selected for the analysis of different research objects and purposes.

Targeted metabolomics analysis: precise quantification and identification of a specific set of known metabolites.

Identify and conduct absolute quantitative analysis of one or more specific components of the metabolites of interest, such as a class of compounds with related structure and properties (amino acids, organic acids, cisediols) or all intermediates of a metabolic pathway or signature components of multiple metabolic pathways. This is achieved by spectral matching to a real reference compound, which is usually added as an isotope-labeled compound or used as an additional standard for standard curve generation.

Untargeted metabolomics analysis: master the overall metabolic profile.

Untargeted metabolomics can be used to identify unknown metabolite species of a given biological sample. It is usually used to compare the content of metabolites in different groups of samples, identify differentially expressed metabolites, and explore the metabolic pathways between different metabolites.

Metabolomics analysis technology has been widely used in disease diagnosis, drug target discovery, disease mechanism research, nutritional food science, toxicology, botany and other related fields, and it is a new hot spot in current research.

What types of samples can be detected by metabolomics?

Metabolomics is mainly used to study small molecular metabolites (molecular weight <1000) as substrates and products of various metabolic pathways. The samples are mainly plasma or serum, urine, saliva, and extracts of cells and tissues.

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