From exogenous to endogenous: the inevitable imprint of mass spectrometry in metabolomics.
Mass spectrometry (MS) is an established technology in drug metabolite analysis and is now expanding into endogenous metabolite research. Its utility derives from its wide dynamic range, reproducible quantitative analysis, and the ability to analyze biofluids with extreme molecular complexity. The aims of developing mass spectrometry for metabolomics range from understanding basic biochemistry to biomarker discovery and the structural characterization of physiologically important metabolites. In this review, we will discuss the techniques involved in this exciting area and the current and future applications of this field.