A practical guide to metabolomic profiling as a discovery tool for human heart disease
Metabolomics has refreshed interest in metabolism across biology and medicine, particularly in the areas of functional genomics and biomarker discovery. In this review we will discuss the experimental techniques and challenges involved in metabolomic profiling and how these technologies have been applied to cardiovascular disease. Open profiling and targeted approaches to metabolomics are compared, focusing on high resolution NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry, as well as discussing how to analyse the large amounts of data generated using multivariate statistics. Finally, the current literature on metabolomic profiling in human cardiovascular disease is reviewed to illustrate the diversity of approaches, and discuss some of the key metabolites and pathways found to be perturbed in plasma, urine and tissue from patients with these diseases. This includes studies of coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, and ischemic heart disease. These studies demonstrate the potential of the technology for biomarker discovery and elucidating metabolic mechanisms associated with given pathologies, but also in some cases provide a warning of the pitfalls of poor study design. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled "Focus on Cardiac Metabolism". âº Metabolomics aims to measure all the small molecules in a cell, tissue or biofluid. âº The two commonest techniques involve NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. âº In cardiac research metabolomics is used for biomarker discovery and functional genomics. âº Applications include coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction and ischaemia.