Metabolomics as a Diagnostic Tool in Gastroenterology
Metabolomics has increasingly been applied in addition to other "omic" approaches in the study of the pathophysiology of different gastrointestinal diseases. Metabolites represent molecular readouts of the cell status reflecting a physiological phenotype. In addition, changes in metabolite concentrations induced by exogenous factors such as environmental and dietary factors which do not affect the genome, are taken into account. Metabolic reactions initiated by the host or gut microbiota can lead to "marker" metabolites present in different biological fluids that allow differentiation between health and disease. Several lines of evidence implicated the involvement of intestinal microbiota in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Also in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a role of an abnormal microbiota composition, so-called dysbiosis, is supported by experimental data. These compositional alterations could play a role in the aetiology of both diseases by altering the metabolic activities of the gut bacteria. Several studies have applied a metabolomic approach to identify these metabolite signatures. However, before translating a potential metabolite biomarker into clinical use, additional validation studies are required.
The article is published online in the World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pharmacology and Therapeutics and is free to access.