Metabolic profiling employs a combination of sophisticated analytical tools to obtain global “untargeted” metabolic profiles from tissues, cells or biofluids. The resulting complex multivariate data are then modeled statistically to reveal differences between classes (e.g. dosed vs. control) and identify discriminatory metabolites. Metabolic profiling has a wide range of applications, encompassing nutrition, disease diagnosis, epidemiology and toxicology, providing insights into altered biological pathways and offering fresh mechanistic perspectives. Further, the untargeted nature of metabolic profiling can allow for new biomarkers of disease or toxic effect to be uncovered. In this review, key metabolic profiling technologies will be introduced and data analysis approaches described briefly. The role of metabolic profiling in disease diagnosis, toxicology and personalized healthcare will be discussed.
Keywords: Metabolic profiling, NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, toxicology, metabonomics, multivariate, statistics, biomarker, diagnostic, epidemiology and toxicology, data analysis approaches, gas chromatography, capillary electrophoresis
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