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J Proteome Res. 2012 Apr 6;11(4):2427-40. doi: 10.1021/pr201161f. Epub 2012 Mar 2.

Pharmacometabonomic investigation of dynamic metabolic phenotypes associated with variability in response to galactosamine hepatotoxicity.

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Biomolecular Medicine, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, United Kingdom.


Galactosamine (galN) is widely used as an in vivo model of acute liver injury. We have applied an integrative approach, combining histopathology, clinical chemistry, cytokine analysis, and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopic metabolic profiling of biofluids and tissues, to study variability in response to galactosamine following successive dosing. On re-challenge with galN, primary non-responders displayed galN-induced hepatotoxicity (induced response), whereas primary responders exhibited a less marked response (adaptive response). A systems-level metabonomic approach enabled simultaneous characterization of the xenobiotic and endogenous metabolic perturbations associated with the different response phenotypes. Elevated serum cytokines were identified and correlated with hepatic metabolic profiles to further investigate the inflammatory response to galN. The presence of urinary N-acetylglucosamine (glcNAc) correlated with toxicological outcome and reflected the dynamic shift from a resistant to a sensitive phenotype (induced response). In addition, the urinary level of glcNAc and hepatic level of UDP-N-acetylhexosamines reflected an adaptive response to galN. The unique observation of galN-pyrazines and altered gut microbial metabolites in fecal profiles of non-responders suggested that gut microfloral metabolism was associated with toxic outcome. Pharmacometabonomic modeling of predose urinary and fecal NMR spectroscopic profiles revealed a diverse panel of metabolites that classified the dynamic shift between a resistant and sensitive phenotype. This integrative pharmacometabonomic approach has been demonstrated for a model toxin; however, it is equally applicable to xenobiotic interventions that are associated with wide variation in efficacy or toxicity and, in particular, for prediction of susceptibility to toxicity.

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