Abstract: Neural tube defects (NTDs) are congenital birth defects classified according to their resulting morphological characteristics in newborn patients. Current diagnosis of NTDs relies largely on the structural evaluation of fetuses using ultrasound imaging, with biochemical characterization used as secondary screening tools. The multigene etiology of NTDs has been aided by genetic studies, which have discovered panels of genes mutated in these diseases that encode receptors and cytoplasmic signaling molecules with poorly defined functions. Animal models ranging from fliesto mice have been used to determine the function of these genes and identify their associated molecular cascades. More emphasis is now being placed on the identification of biochemical markers from clinical samples and model systems based on mass spectrometry, which open novel avenues in the understanding of NTDs at protein, metabolic and molecular levels. This article reviews how the use of proteomics can push forward the identification of novel biomarkers and molecular networks implicated in NTDs, an indispensable step in the improvement of patient management.
Abstract: Recent advancements in the use of electronic-nose (e-nose) devices to analyze human breath profiles for the presence of specific volatile metabolites, known as biomarkers or chemical bio-indicators of specific human diseases, metabolic disorders and the overall health status of individuals, are providing the potential for new noninvasive tools and techniques useful to point-of-care clinical disease diagnoses. This exciting new area of electronic disease detection and diagnosis promises to yield much faster and earlier detection of human diseases and disorders, allowing earlier, more effective treatments, resulting in more rapid patient recovery from various afflictions. E-nose devices are particularly suited for the field of disease diagnostics, because they are sensitive to a wide range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and can effectively distinguish between different complex gaseous mixtures via analysis of electronic aroma sensor-array output profiles of volatile metabolites present in the human breath. This review provides a summary of some recent developments of electronic-nose technologies, particularly involving breath analysis, with the potential for providing many new diagnostic applications for the detection of specific human diseases associated with different organs in the body, detectable from e-nose analyses of aberrant disease-associated VOCs present in air expired from the lungs.
Metabolites2015, 5(1), 119-139; doi:10.3390/metabo5010119 - published 27 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Aerobic exercise, in spite of its multi-organ benefit and potent effect on the metabolome, has yet to be investigated comprehensively via an untargeted metabolomics technology. We conducted an exploratory untargeted liquid chromatography mass spectrometry study to investigate the effects of a one-h aerobic exercise session in the urine of three physically active males. Individual urine samples were collected over a 37-h protocol (two pre-exercise and eight post-exercise). Raw data were subjected to a variety of normalization techniques, with the most effective measure dividing each metabolite by the sum response of that metabolite for each individual across the 37-h protocol expressed as a percentage. This allowed the metabolite responses to be plotted on a normalised scale. Our results highlight significant metabolites located in the following systems: purine pathway, tryptophan metabolism, carnitine metabolism, cortisol metabolism, androgen metabolism, amino acid oxidation, as well as metabolites from the gastrointestinal microbiome. Many of the significant changes observed in our pilot investigation mirror previous research studies, of various methodological designs, published within the last 15 years, although they have never been reported at the same time in a single study.
Metabolites2015, 5(1), 100-118; doi:10.3390/metabo5010100 - published 16 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The metabolic profiles of breast cancer cells are different from normal mammary epithelial cells. Breast cancer cells that gain resistance to therapeutic interventions can reprogram their endogenous metabolism in order to adapt and proliferate despite high oxidative stress and hypoxic conditions. Drug resistance in breast cancer, regardless of subgroups, is a major clinical setback. Although recent advances in genomics and proteomics research has given us a glimpse into the heterogeneity that exists even within subgroups, the ability to precisely predict a tumor’s response to therapy remains elusive. Metabolomics as a quantitative, high through put technology offers promise towards devising new strategies to establish predictive, diagnostic and prognostic markers of breast cancer. Along with other “omics” technologies that include genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics, metabolomics fits into the puzzle of a comprehensive systems biology approach to understand drug resistance in breast cancer. In this review, we highlight the challenges facing successful therapeutic treatment of breast cancer and the innovative approaches that metabolomics offers to better understand drug resistance in cancer.
Abstract: Microorganisms in terrestrial and marine ecosystems are essential to environmental sustainability. In the marine environment, invertebrates often depend on metabolic cooperation with their endosymbionts. Coral reefs, one of the most important marine ecosystems, are based on the symbiosis between a broad diversity of dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium and a wide phyletic diversity of hosts (i.e., cnidarian, molluscan, poriferan). This diversity is reflected in the ecology and physiology of the symbionts, yet the underlying biochemical mechanisms are still poorly understood. We examined metabolite profiles of four cultured species of Symbiodinium known to form viable symbioses with reef-building corals, S. microadriaticum (cp-typeA194), S.minutum (cp-type B184), S. psygmophilum (cp-type B224) and S. trenchii (cp-type D206). Metabolite profiles were shown to differ among Symbiodinium species and were found to be affected by their physiological response to growth in different temperatures and light regimes. A combined Random Forests and Bayesian analysis revealed that the four Symbiodinium species examined primarily differed in their production of sterols and sugars, including a C29 stanol and the two sterols C28Δ5 and C28Δ5,22, as well as differences in metabolite abundances of a hexose and inositol. Inositol levels were also strongly affected by changes in temperature across all Symbiodinium species. Our results offer a detailed view of the metabolite profile characteristic of marine symbiotic dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium, and identify patterns of metabolites related to several growth conditions.
Abstract: Isoflavones are found in leguminous plants, especially soybeans. They have a structural similarity to natural estrogens, which enables them to bind to estrogen receptors and elicit biological activities similar to natural estrogens. They have been suggested to be beneficial for the prevention and therapy of hormone-dependent diseases. After soy products are consumed, the bacteria of the intestinal microflora metabolize isoflavones to metabolites with altered absorption, bioavailability, and estrogenic characteristics. Variations in the effect of soy products have been correlated with the isoflavone metabolites found in plasma and urine samples of the individuals consuming soy products. The beneficial effects of the soy isoflavone daidzin, the glycoside of daidzein, have been reported in individuals producing equol, a reduction product of daidzein produced by specific colonic bacteria in individuals called equol producers. These individuals comprise 30% and 60% of populations consuming Western and soy-rich Asian diets, respectively. Since the higher percentage of equol producers in populations consuming soy-rich diets is correlated with a lower incidence of hormone-dependent diseases, considerable efforts have been made to detect the specific colonic bacteria involved in the metabolism of daidzein to the more estrogenic compound, equol, which should facilitate the investigation of the metabolic activities related to this compound.