As reported by Wikipedia, metabolomics is the “systematic study of the unique chemical fingerprints that specific cellular processes leave behind”.
The metabolome is the collection of metabolites values for a specific tissue (plasma, serum, urine). These metabolites represent the end point of the chemical cellular process of the analyzed tissue.
In the last few years, new high-throughput technologies, allowed us to measure metabolite levels from individual human plasma, serum or urine and provided a new powerful tool to investigate the cause of common diseases (cardiovascular, diabetes, smoking, obesity).
In TwinsUK , we assessed the metabolomic profiles of over 6,000 twins using a non-targeted platform (Metabolon Inc., Durham, USA). This platform detect and quantify the concentration of over 500 metabolites including 70 amino-acids, 122 lipids, 13 carbohydrates, 11 vitamins, 11 nucleotides, 21 peptides, 45 xenobiotics and 6 energy metabolites.
We are applying state of the art statistical methods to detect metabolites (potential biomarkers) and genes (biological pathways) involved in the process of common diseases. These potential biomarkers could represent a major step towards a ‘personalized medicine’ in the future clinical practice.