Chapter 7: Approaches in untargeted metabolomics
by Jacopo Troisi, Sean M. Richards, Giovanni Scala, Annamaria Landolfi
An untargeted approach is an intriguing version of metabolomics that could provide several interesting insights into human physiology and diseases. Untargeted metabolomics does not need a priori hypothesis and could characterize biomarkers for disease diagnosis and prognosis. Moreover, metabolomics profiles could be used to train mathematical algorithms able to make a disease diagnosis. Furthermore, through the description of the complexity of the established relationship among the metabolites, inferences about the diseases’ mechanisms are possible. Despite this great potential, untargeted metabolomics, unlike the targeted approach, is used only in limited clinical applications. In this chapter the usefulness and the principal application of untargeted metabolomics, as well as its principal limitations, key factors, and suggestions for improved clinical implementations are discussed.
Sean M. Richards
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, Chattanooga, TN 37403 - Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, Chattanooga, TN 37403, USA; Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine Chattanooga, TN 37403
Over the last 25 years Dr. Richards has conducted research on the exposure and effects of multiple toxicants on organisms ranging from bacteria to humans. These toxicants include herbicides, insecticides, pharmaceuticals, Bisphenol A, Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbons, Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, metals, and Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls. Dr. Richards also has experience with the laws and regulations which govern exposure to toxicants through air, soil, and water.
Most recently, Dr. Richards has focused on metabolomics. Specifically, the alterations of metabolomes in response to toxicants or in populations of humans affected by endometrial cancer, congenital malformations, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and fetal central nervous system anomalies. The goal of this research is to determine specific biochemical pathways associated with the affected populations. Ultimately, understanding the changes in the metabolome as a result of disease or intoxication can lead to early detection and personalized treatments.
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