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Storr, Martin; Vogel, Hans J. and Schicho, Rudolf (July 2013): Metabolomics: is it useful for inflammatory bowel diseases? In: Current Opinion in Gastroenterology, Vol. 29, No. 4: pp. 378-383 [PDF, 269kB]


Purpose of Review: The assessment of metabolite profiles in biofluids has become a powerful method for the detection of biomarker molecules and disease mechanisms. This review outlines the recent advances in the use of metabolomic techniques to study inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). Recent findingsThe last few years have seen an increase in the studies of experimental and human IBD focusing on the search for small metabolites, such as amino acids, bases, and tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates. Experimental methods for the screening of metabolites in serum, urine, fecal extracts, and colon tissue include H-1 NMR spectroscopy, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and liquid chromatography methods. Several studies demonstrate that IBD patients and healthy individuals, as well as the IBD subtypes, can be distinguished using metabolic profiling. Metabolomic data of fecal extracts and urine have revealed disruptions in bacterial populations, findings that are indicative of a possible involvement of the microbiome in the development of IBDs. SummaryMetabolites from biofluids can be detected in IBDs by different experimental methods that allow successful separation of IBD subtypes from healthy cohorts. Knowledge of a unique metabolomic fingerprint in IBDs could be useful for diagnosis, treatment, and detection of disease mechanisms.

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