Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 405, Issue 25, pp 8143–8150

Recent advances in metabolomics in neurological disease, and future perspectives


DOI: 10.1007/s00216-013-7061-4

Cite this article as:
Zhang, A., Sun, H. & Wang, X. Anal Bioanal Chem (2013) 405: 8143. doi:10.1007/s00216-013-7061-4


Discovery of clinically relevant biomarkers for diseases has revealed metabolomics has potential advantages that classical diagnostic approaches do not. The great asset of metabolomics is that it enables assessment of global metabolic profiles of biofluids and discovery of biomarkers distinguishing disease status, with the possibility of enhancing clinical diagnostics. Most current clinical chemistry tests rely on old technology, and are neither sensitive nor specific for a particular disease. Clinical diagnosis of major neurological disorders, for example Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, on the basis of current clinical criteria is unsatisfactory. Emerging metabolomics is a powerful technique for discovering novel biomarkers and biochemical pathways to improve diagnosis, and for determination of prognosis and therapy. Identifying multiple novel biomarkers for neurological diseases has been greatly enhanced with recent advances in metabolomics that are more accurate than routine clinical practice. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which is known to be a rich source of small-molecule biomarkers for neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, and is in close contact with diseased areas in neurological disorders, could potentially be used for disease diagnosis. Metabolomics will drive CSF analysis, facilitate and improve the development of disease treatment, and result in great benefits to public health in the long-term. This review covers different aspects of CSF metabolomics and discusses their significance in the postgenomic era, emphasizing the potential importance of endogenous small-molecule metabolites in this emerging field.


MetabolomicsCerebrospinal fluidNeurological diseasesMetabolitesDiagnosis



Alzheimer’s disease


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis


Central nervous system


Cerebrospinal fluid


Coefficient of variation


Cerebrovascular disease


Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis


Idiopathic intracranial hypertension


Mass spectrometry


Multiple sclerosis


Nuclear magnetic resonance


Parkinson’s disease

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National TCM Key Lab of Serum Pharmacochemistry, Key Lab of Chinmedomics, Key Pharmacometabolomics Platform of Chinese MedicinesHeilongjiang University of Chinese MedicineHarbinChina