Metabolomics in human type 2 diabetes research
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- Lu, J., Xie, G., Jia, W. et al. Front. Med. (2013) 7: 4. doi:10.1007/s11684-013-0248-4
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The high prevalence of diabetes and diabetic complications has caused a huge burden on the modern society. Although scientific advances have led to effective strategies for preventing and treating diabetes over the past several decades, little progress has been made toward curing the disease or even getting it under control, from a public health and overall societal standpoint. There is still a lack of reliable biomarkers indicative of metabolic alterations associated with diabetes and different drug responses, highlighting the need for the development of early diagnostic and prognostic markers for diabetes and diabetic complications. The emergence of metabolomics has allowed researchers to systemically measure the small molecule metabolites, which are sensitive to the changes of both environmental and genetic factors and therefore, could be regarded as the link between genotypes and phenotypes. During the last decade, the progression made in metabolomics has provided insightful information on disease development and disease onset prediction. Recent studies using metabolomics approach coupled with statistical tools to predict incident diabetes revealed a number of metabolites that are significantly altered, including branched-chain and aromatic amino acids, such as isoleucine, leucine, valine, tyrosine and phenylalanine, as diagnostic or highly-significant predictors of future diabetes. This review summarizes the current findings of metabolomic studies in human investigations with the most common form of diabetes, type 2 diabetes.