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J Nutrigenet Nutrigenomics. 2014;7(4-6):274-82. doi: 10.1159/000381349. Epub 2015 May 13.

Metabolomics and Proteomics, and What to Do with All These 'Omes': Insights from Nutrigenomic Investigations in New Zealand.

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Food Nutrition and Health Team, AgResearch Ltd., Grasslands Research Centre, Palmerston North, New Zealand.



Nutrigenomics New Zealand has invested considerable effort researching the role of nutrient-gene interactions in human inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This research has utilised a number of 'omics' techniques, including proteomics and metabolomics.


Mouse models of intestinal inflammation have been used to investigate the mechanisms underlying IBD and to test foods or food components for potential beneficial effects. Proteomics combining two-dimensional gel electrophoresis with liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) analysis of peptides, and metabolomics using both gas chromatography-MS and LC-MS have been combined with transcriptomics and microbiome analyses to comprehensively assess samples derived from these models.


Across several independent studies, we have identified key proteins and metabolites which are involved in chronic inflammation. We have also identified food compounds such as polyphenols (green tea polyphenols or curcumin) and polyunsaturated fatty acids, or whole foods such as salmon and broccoli, that reduce inflammation by regulating the activity of these proteins and metabolites.


Omics techniques, including proteomics and metabolomics, have deepened our insight into the mechanisms underlying intestinal inflammation, and how nutrient-gene interactions may influence these. However, challenges remain in dealing with the enormous quantity of data generated by these techniques, and in utilising these data to improve the outcome for people with IBD.

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