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J Surg Res. 2010 May 1;160(1):122-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2009.03.003. Epub 2009 Apr 2.

Metabonomics: a useful tool for the future surgeon.

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Hepatopancreatobiliary and Transplant Unit, St. James's University Hospital, Leeds, United Kingdom.



In the past decade or so, a range of technologies have emerged that have shown promise in increasing our understanding of disease processes and progression. These advances are referred to as the "omics" technologies; genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics. More recently, another "omics" approach has come to the fore: metabonomics, and this technology has the potential for significant clinical impact. Metabonomics refers to the analysis of the metabolome, that is, the metabolic profile of a system. The advantage of studying the metabolome is that the end points of biological events are elucidated.


Although still in its infancy, the metabonomics approach has shown immense promise in areas as diverse as toxicology studies to the discovery of biomarkers of disease. It has also been applied to studies of both renal and hepatic transplants. Metabolome analysis may be conducted on a variety of biological fluids and tissue types and may utilize a number of different technology platforms, mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy being the most popular. In this review, we cover the background to the evolution of metabonomics and its applications with particular emphasis on clinical applications.


We conclude with the suggestion that metabonomics offers a platform for further biomarker development, drug development, and in the field of medicine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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