Background: The progression of liver disease causes metabolic transformation in vivo and thus affects corresponding endogenous small molecular compounds. Metabonomics is a powerful technology which is able to assess global low-molecular-weight endogenous metabolites in a biological system. This review is intended to provide an overview of a metabonomics approach to the drug toxicology of diseases of the liver.
Methods: The regulation of, and relationship between, endogenous metabolites and diseases of the liver is discussed in detail. Furthermore, the metabolic pathways involved in drug interventions of liver diseases are reviewed. Evaluation of the protective mechanisms of traditional Chinese medicine in liver diseases using metabonomics is also reviewed. Examples of applications of metabolite profiling concerning biomarker discovery are highlighted. In addition, new developments and future prospects are described.
Results: Metabonomics can measure changes in metabolism relating to different stages of liver disease, so metabolic differences can provide a basis for the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of various diseases.
Conclusion: Metabonomics has great advantages in all aspects of the therapy of liver diseases, with good prospects for clinical application.