Bioanalysis Zone

1H NMR-based metabonomics for investigating diabetes

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Diabetes is characterized by hyperglycemia due to dysfunction of insulin secretion or action. The two most common forms are Type 1 diabetes, in which pancreatic β-cells are destroyed, and Type 2 diabetes, in which a combination of disordered insulin action and secretion results in abnormal carbohydrate, lipid and protein metabolism. Metabonomics employs analytical technologies to measure ‘global’ metabolic responses to a disease state. With the aid of statistical pattern recognition, this can reveal novel insights into the biochemical consequences of diabetes. The metabonomic method can be divided into four stages: sample collection; preparation; data acquisition and processing; and statistical analyses. In this review, we describe the most recent developments at each experimental stage in detail, and comment on specific precautions or improvements that should be taken into account when studying diabetes. Finally, we end with speculations as to where and how the field will develop in the future. Metabonomics provides a logical framework for understanding the global metabolic effects of diabetes. Continuing technological improvements will expand our knowledge of the causes and progression of this disease, and enhance treatment options for individuals.

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