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Curr Med Chem. 2013;20(2):257-71.

Metabolomics analysis for biomarker discovery: advances and challenges.

Author information

1
REQUIMTE, Laboratory of Toxicology, Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, Porto University, Portugal. mtacf10006@ff.up.pt

Abstract

Over the last decades there has been a change in biomedical research with the search for single genes, transcripts, proteins, or metabolites being substituted by the coverage of the entire genome, transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome with the "omics" approaches. The emergence of metabolomics, defined as the comprehensive analysis of all metabolites in a system, is still recent compared to other "omics" fields, but its particular features and the improvement of both analytical techniques and pattern recognition methods has contributed greatly to its increasingly use. The feasibility of metabolomics for biomarker discovery is supported by the assumption that metabolites are important players in biological systems and that diseases cause disruption of biochemical pathways, which are not new concepts. In fact, metabolomics, meaning the parallel assessment of multiple metabolites, has been shown to have benefits in various clinical areas. Compared to classical diagnostic approaches and conventional clinical biomarkers, metabolomics offers potential advantages in sensitivity and specificity. Despite its potential, metabolomics still retains several intrinsic limitations which have a great impact on its widespread implementation - these limitations in biological and experimental measurements. This review will provide an insight to the characteristics, strengths, limitations, and recent advances in metabolomics, always keeping in mind its potential application in clinical/ health areas as a biomarker discovery tool.

PMID:
23210853
DOI:
10.2174/092986713804806621
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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