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BMC Syst Biol. 2013;7 Suppl 2:S13. doi: 10.1186/1752-0509-7-S2-S13. Epub 2013 Dec 17.

Discovery of metabolite biomarkers: flux analysis and reaction-reaction network approach.



Metabolism is a vital cellular process, and its malfunction can be a major contributor to many human diseases. Metabolites can serve as a metabolic disease biomarker. An detection of such biomarkers plays a significant role in the study of biochemical reaction and signaling networks. Early research mainly focused on the analysis of the metabolic networks. The issue of integrating metabolite networks with other available biological data to reveal the mechanics of disease-metabolite associations is an important and interesting challenge.


In this article, we propose two new approaches for the identification of metabolic biomarkers with the incorporation of disease specific gene expression data and the genome-scale human metabolic network. The first approach is to compare the flux interval between the normal and disease sample so as to identify reaction biomarkers. The second one is based on the Reaction-Reaction Network (RRN) to reveal the significant reactions. These two approaches utilize reaction flux obtained by a Linear Programming (LP) based method that can contribute to the discovery of potential novel biomarkers.


Biomarker identification is an important issue in studying biochemical reactions and signaling networks. Two efficient and effective computational methods are proposed for the identification of biomarkers in this article. Furthermore, the biomarkers found by our proposed methods are shown to be significant determinants for diabetes.

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