We continue updating you on the new publications with the participation of our research Nodes. Today we want to highlight a few done by or in collaboration with Dr. Wishart’s Node.
The review “NMR and Metabolomics – A Roadmap for the Future” was published last decade of July (open access publication). Though it admits that LC-MS methods are becoming increasingly popular in the metabolomics field (it currently accounts for more than 70% of published metabolomics studies to date), there are noticeable benefits in using NMR-based methods.
NMR spectroscopy is non-destructive, unbiased, easily quantifiable, requires little to no sample preparation, has no need for chemical derivatization, and is the “gold standard” for the identification of novel compounds. In addition, it is easily automatable and exceptionally reproducible, and as such automated high-throughput metabolomics with NMR is more feasible and reliable then LC-MS or GC-MS. Plus, the compounds that can be challenging for LC-MS analysis, such as sugars, organic acids, alcohols, polyols, and other highly polar compounds, can be detected and characterized using NMR. It is also well suited for probing living cells, tissues, and organs (metabolic flux and metabolic imaging studies). And NMR is used in clinic for lipoprotein profiling and cholesterol classes studies.
“It is time to awaken the sleeping giant”, – the authors of the publication say. Current advances in electronics, magnet shielding, and cryo-technology are making NMR instruments smaller, cheaper, easier to maintain, and more clinically compatible.
Another open access review published in July is devoted to the fatty acid metabolites “Acylcarnitines: Nomenclature, Biomarkers, Therapeutic Potential, Drug Targets, and Clinical Trials”. These metabolites play important roles in many cellular energy metabolism pathways. They have historically been used as important diagnostic markers for inborn errors of fatty acid oxidation, as well as in other applications. The authors provided a detailed description of acylcarnitines identity, nomenclature, classification, biochemistry, pathophysiology, supplementary use, potential drug targets, and clinical trials. These updates are also summarized in the Human Metabolome Database, which now includes information on the structures, chemical formulae, chemical/spectral properties, descriptions, and pathways for 1240 acylcarnitines.
Switching to the agriculture related applications, check “Advances in Metabolomics-Driven Diagnostic Breeding and Crop Improvement” open access publication. Modern plant breeding approaches are essential on the way to the global food security, and the metabolomics is emerging as a powerful tool for guiding crop improvement. Integration of metabolomics with other OMICS techniques can further enhance the capability of science guided plant breeding.
“Identification of urinary biomarkers of colorectal cancer: Towards the development of a colorectal screening test in limited resource settings” is published in “Cancer Biomarkers” in July. A low-cost colorectal cancer screening approach is needed to identify CRC from non-CRC patients. This is especially important in African countries, as colonoscopy access is limited. The publication aims to the identification of urinary metabolite biomarkers which can be combined with easy-to-measure clinical variables. This is not an open access publication.
I would also like to mention the study protocol published on Gates Open Research platform “The childhood acute illness and nutrition (CHAIN) network nested case-cohort study protocol: a multi-omics approach to understanding mortality among children in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia”. This study is a multiple countries collaboration, and it aims to investigate biological mechanisms leading to inpatient and post-discharge mortality through an integrated multi-omic approach. The nested case cohort comprises a subset of participants from the CHAIN cohort (1278 hospitalised participants, including 350 children who died and 658 survivors, and 270 well community children of similar age and household location) from nine sites in six countries across sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Systemic proteome, metabolome, lipidome, lipopolysaccharides, haemoglobin variants, toxins, pathogens, intestinal microbiome, and biomarkers of enteropathy will be determined. This systems approach is anticipated to yield mechanistic insights, show interactions and behaviours of the components of biological entities, and help develop interventions to reduce mortality among acutely ill children.
Dr. Wishart’s Node is focused on the assays with an absolute quantification. They have new offer which is based on the use of their proprietary TMIC MEGA kits (two new assays):
- Clinical Biomarker Assay 2.0 (TMIC MEGA) – which quantifies up to 900 metabolites and ratios, and is validated for blood, serum and plasma
- Microbiome Metabolism Assay (TMIC MEGA) – it quantifies up to 900 metabolites and ratios in fecal material, and up to 350 metabolites and ratios in urine, and is validated for urine, fecal extract and more
Other popular assays out of 28 total assays offered by his team include:
- Clinical Biomarker Assay 1.0 (TMIC PRIME)
- TMIC Plant Metabolite Assay which identifies and quantifies 169 different metabolites commonly present in plant samples
- Bile Acids (with Biocrates bile acid kit)
Summary is prepared by Dr. Svetlana Sapelnikova