Skip to main content

Metabolomics: building on a century of biochemistry to guide human health

Abstract

Medical diagnosis and treatment efficacy will improve significantly when a more personalized system for health assessment is implemented. This system will require diagnostics that provide sufficiently detailed information about the metabolic status of individuals such that assay results will be able to guide food, drug and lifestyle choices to maintain or improve distinct aspects of health without compromising others. Achieving this goal will use the new science of metabolomics – comprehensive metabolic profiling of individuals linked to the biological understanding of human integrative metabolism. Candidate technologies to accomplish this goal are largely available, yet they have not been brought into practice for this purpose. Metabolomic technologies must be sufficiently rapid, accurate and affordable to be routinely accessible to both healthy and acutely ill individuals. The use of metabolomic data to predict the health trajectories of individuals will require bioinformatic tools and quantitative reference databases. These databases containing metabolite profiles from the population must be built, stored and indexed according to metabolic and health status. Building and annotating these databases with the knowledge to predict how a specific metabolic pattern from an individual can be adjusted with diet, drugs and lifestyle to improve health represents a logical application of the biochemistry knowledge that the life sciences have produced over the past 100 years.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • G. Alberti (2001) ArticleTitleNoncommunicable diseases: tomorrow’s pandemics Bull. World Health Organ. 79 907

    Google Scholar 

  • J.T. Brindle H. Antti E. Holmes et al. (2002) ArticleTitleRapid and noninvasive diagnosis of the presence and severity of coronary heart disease using 1H-NMR-based metabonomics Nat. Med. 8 1439–1444

    Google Scholar 

  • E. Bruckert P. Giral P. Tellier (2003) ArticleTitleMicroarray analysis reveals a major direct role of DNA copy number alteration in the transcriptional program of human breast tumors Circulation 107 3124–3128

    Google Scholar 

  • K.J. Carpenter (2003a) ArticleTitleA short history of nutritional science: part 3 (1912–1944) J. Nutr. 133 3023–3032

    Google Scholar 

  • K.J. Carpenter (2003b) ArticleTitleA short history of nutritional science: part 4 (1945–1985) J. Nutr. 133 3331–3342

    Google Scholar 

  • J.I. Castrillo A. Hayes S. Mohammed S.J. Gaskell S.G. Oliver (2003) ArticleTitleAn optimized protocol for metabolome analysis in yeast using direct infusion electrospray mass spectrometry Phytochemistry 62 929–937

    Google Scholar 

  • F.S. Collins E.D. Green A.E. Guttmacher M.S. Guyer (2003) Nature 422 IssueID6934 835–847

    Google Scholar 

  • O. Fiehn (2003) ArticleTitleMetabolic networks of Cucurbita maxima phloem Phytochemistry 62 875–886

    Google Scholar 

  • S.M. Grundy (2002) ArticleTitleNational Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP)-The National Cholesterol Guidelines in 2001, Adult Treatment Panel (ATP) III. Approach to lipoprotein management in 2001 National Cholesterol Guidelines Am. J. Cardiol. 90 IssueID8A 11i–21i

    Google Scholar 

  • L. Hood (2003) ArticleTitleSystems biology: integrating technology, biology, and computation Mech. Ageing Dev. 124 9–16

    Google Scholar 

  • R.J. Lamers J. DeGroot E.J. Spies-Faber et al. (2003) ArticleTitleIdentification of disease- and nutrient-related metabolic fingerprints in osteoarthritic Guinea pigs J. Nutr. 133 1776–1780

    Google Scholar 

  • D. Lutjohann I. Bjorkhem U.F. Beil K. von Bergmann (1995) ArticleTitleSterol absorption and sterol balance in phytosterolemia evaluated by deuterium-labeled sterols: effect of sitostanol treatment J. Lipid Res. 36 1763–1773

    Google Scholar 

  • A.J. Marcus M.J. Broekman D.J. Pinsky (2002) ArticleTitleCOX inhibitors and thromboregulation New Engl. J. Med. 347 1025–1026

    Google Scholar 

  • M.J. Mussner K.G. Parhofer K. Von Bergmann P. Schwandt U. Broedl C. Otto (2002) ArticleTitleEffects of phytosterol ester-enriched margarine on plasma lipoproteins in mild to moderate hypercholesterolemia are related to basal cholesterol and fat intake Metabolism 51 189–194

    Google Scholar 

  • J.W. Newman T. Watanabe B.D. Hammock (2002) ArticleTitleThe simultaneous quantification of cytochrome P450 dependent linoleate and arachidonate metabolites in urine by HPLC-MS/MS J. Lipid Res. 43 1563–1578

    Google Scholar 

  • J.K. Nicholson I.D. Wilson (2003) ArticleTitleOpinion: understanding ‘global’ systems biology: metabonomics and the continuum of metabolism Nat. Rev. Drug Discov. 2 668–676

    Google Scholar 

  • J.K. Nicholson J.C. Lindon E. Holmes (1999) ArticleTitleMetabonomics’: understanding the metabolic responses of living systems to pathophysiological stimuli via multivariate statistical analysis of biological NMR spectroscopic data Xenobiotica 29 1181–1189

    Google Scholar 

  • S. Ohlmeier A.J. Kastaniotis J.K. Hiltunen U. Bergmann (2004) ArticleTitleThe yeast mitochondrial proteome, a study of fermentative and respiratory growth J. Biol. Chem. 279 3956–3979

    Google Scholar 

  • J.R. Pollack T. Sorlie C.M. Perou et al. (2002) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 99 12963–12968

    Google Scholar 

  • P. Puska (2002) ArticleTitleNutrition and global prevention on non-communicable diseases Asia Pac. J. Clin. Nutr. 11 IssueIDSuppl. 9 S755–S758

    Google Scholar 

  • J. Shoda J. Miyamoto M. Kano et al. (1997) ArticleTitleSimultaneous determination of plasma mevalonate and 7alpha-hydroxy-4-cholesten-3-one levels in hyperlipoproteinemia: convenient indices for estimating hepatic defects of cholesterol and bile acid syntheses and biliary cholesterol supersaturation Hepatology 25 18–26

    Google Scholar 

  • T. Soga Y. Ohashi Y. Ueno H. Naraoka M. Tomita T. Nishioka (2003) ArticleTitleQuantitative metabolome analysis using capillary electrophoresis mass spectrometry J. Proteome Res. 2 488–494

    Google Scholar 

  • S.M. Watkins P.R. Reifsnyder H.J. Pan J.B. German E.H. Leiter (2002) ArticleTitleLipid metabolome-wide effects of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor g agonist rosiglitazone J. Lipid Res. 43 1809–1817

    Google Scholar 

  • S.M. Watkins X. Zhu S.H. Zeisel (2003) J. Nutr. 133 3386–3391

    Google Scholar 

  • W. Weckwerth (2003) ArticleTitleMetabolomics in systems biology Annu. Rev. Plant Biol. 54 669–689

    Google Scholar 

  • T. Yoshida A. Honda N. Tanaka et al. (1993) ArticleTitleSimultaneous determination of mevalonate and 7 alpha-hydroxycholesterol in human plasma by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry as indices of cholesterol and bile acid biosynthesis J. Chromatogr. 14 185–193

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Steven M. Watkins.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

German, J.B., Hammock, B.D. & Watkins, S.M. Metabolomics: building on a century of biochemistry to guide human health. Metabolomics 1, 3–9 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11306-005-1102-8

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11306-005-1102-8

Key words

  • metabolomics
  • metabolic profiling
  • human health