Metabolomics in diabetes research

    1. Nele Friedrich
    1. Institute for Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, University of Greifswald, Ferdinand-Sauerbruch-Strasse, D-17475 Greifswald, Germany
    1. (Correspondence should be addressed to N Friedrich; Email: nele.friedrich{at}


    Diabetes represents one of the most important global health problems because it is associated with a large economic burden on the health systems of many countries. Whereas the diagnosis and treatment of manifest diabetes have been well investigated, the identification of novel pathways or early biomarkers indicative of metabolic alterations or insulin resistance related to the development of diabetes is still in progress. Over half of the type 2 diabetes patients show manifestations of diabetes-related diseases, which highlight the need for early screening markers of diabetes. During the last decade, the rapidly growing research field of metabolomics has introduced new insights into the pathology of diabetes as well as methods to predict disease onset and has revealed new biomarkers. Recent epidemiological studies first used metabolism to predict incident diabetes and revealed branched-chain and aromatic amino acids including isoleucine, leucine, valine, tyrosine and phenylalanine as highly significant predictors of future diabetes. This review summarises the current findings of metabolic research regarding diabetes in animal models and human investigations.

    • Received in final form 1 June 2012
    • Accepted 20 June 2012
    • Made available online as an Accepted Preprint 20 June 2012
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